Virginia: Insurance Law Needs Prompt Supreme Review
Today, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced that he will request an expedited Supreme Court review of the health care reform lawsuit, which includes a challenge to affordable mandated health insurance. Should his request be granted, the lawsuit would bypass required lower courts proceeding and go directly to the high court.
This request comes in the wake of a ruling made by a federal judge in Virginia which declared that the portion of health care law which requires Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty, was unconstitutional. Earlier this week in Florida another federal judge made a similar ruling, declaring the entire health care reform law unconstitutional.
The provision of the health care reform law mandating all US citizens to obtain health insurance by 2014 has been the grounds for legal dispute due to its questionable violation of constitutional rights. Although Virginia's judge only ruled against this part of the law, the Florida judge stated that this portion of the law is “necessarily and essential” to the entire law therefore ruled against the entire health care reform.
Virginia will file the request under the Rule 11 which allows for immediate review of a case by the Supreme Court “upon showing that the case is of such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination”. Currently there are 28 states which have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform law. Virginia argues that this alone makes this an exceptional case and grounds for Rule 11.
In a statement released by Cuccinelli he expresses his concern about the amount of time it will take for the lawsuit to make its way through the lower court system. To date there have been several contradicting federal court rulings on the health care reform law, thus indicating that a Supreme Court ruling will be the inevitable outcome. Any time spent in lower courts would be a waste of time and taxpayer money, according to Cuccinelli.
“Currently, state governments and private businesses are being forced to expend enormous amounts of resources to prepare to implement a law that, in the end, may be declared unconstitutional. Regardless of whether you believe the law is constitutional or not, we should all agree that a prompt resolution of this issue is in everyone’s best interest.” said Cuccinelli.
The US Government’s Department of Justice, who is currently defending the law and it's mandate for health insurance, is opposed to Virginia’s request for the case to be heard early by the Supreme Court. “The individual (mandated health insurance) provision does not go into effect until 2014, so there is more than sufficient time for this case to proceed first in the court of appeals," Schmaler said.
As the legalities of the health care reform law are debated, Republicans are also working hard to prevent this law from going into effect. The House of Representatives voted for an repeal of the law, however the Senate rejected this on Wednesday with 51 to 47 vote. In a statement released today, Congressman Steve King encouraged House Representatives to continue the fight against the reform by “blocking any funding from going into this unconstitutional law.”
As of now, the U.S. Court of appeals is set to review the challenges to the health care law and its mandates on health insurance in May.