Challenge to Health Care Law Clears Legal Hurdle

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WASHINGTON -- One of several lawsuits against the Obama administration's health care reform law has cleared its first legal hurdle.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ruled on Monday that Virginia's lawsuit challenging the legislation's constitutionality should go forth.    

The U.S. Justice Department had argued that the state had no right to sue and asked for the case be dismissed.

Hudson rejected the request, saying the law "raises a host of complex constitutional issues" as well as questions over Congress' regulation powers, which "neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor any other federal appeals court has squarely addressed."
    
"Unquestionably, this regulation radically changes the landscape of health insurance coverage in America," Hudson wrote in his 32-page decision.
    
He added that further hearings were needed to carefully consider the law's constitutionality.

Va. Gov.: Health Law Unconstitutional
    
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli applauded the decision.

"The court recognized the duty of our office to defend Virginia's law and protect the Constitution within the manor that we're doing in this case," Cuccinelli said.
     
Cuccinelli is defending a Virginia law that protects its citizens from being forced to either buy health insurance or pay a penalty as will be required by the federal government in 2014.
    
Some lawmakers claim authority to order Americans to buy health insurance under the Commerce Clause.

However, Cuccinelli argued the government can't regulate or tax a person's decision not to buy insurance.

"Never before in the history of America under the guise of regulating commerce has the federal government ordered Americans to buy anything whether it be health insurance or anything.  It's never happened before," Cuccinelli said.
    
"We remain confident that the case is solid and there is full constitutional backing for the passing of the Afordable Care Act," Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius asserted during a recent conference call with reporters.
    
Republican said that instead of reform, the new healthcare law presents a bureaucratic nightmare under which the quality of health care suffers.

According to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, estimating the number of bureaucratic offices the law creates is "impossible."

Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen poll found that 57 percent of voters say the health care law will be bad for the country, 59 percent favor repealing it, and 38 percent of Americans want to keep it.

GOP Takes Aim at Health Care

GOP lawmakers hoping to gain control of the House this November have been promising to repeal the law. But they know they won't have the two-thirds majority needed to override the president's veto pen.

Consequently, Politico.com reported the Republican Party is preparing to tweak its message, asking voters to give them control of Congress's purse strings so they can cut off funding for the law.

Meanwhile, roughly 20 other states have also filed suit over the law, but Virginia's case is the first to be heard in court.
    
Oral arguments for the next round in court are set for October 18.

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