Lawyer and journalist Stuart Taylor discusses today’s development in health care reform. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia struck down a key part of the new health law, saying that the mandate on most Americans to buy health coverage is unconstitutional.
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JACKIE JUDD: Good day. This is Health on the Hill. I’m Jackie Judd. The lynch pin of the health care overhaul law has been declared unconstitutional. Federal Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia ruled that Congress overstepped its authority by requiring that virtually all Americans have health insurance. Here to discuss the ruling, and its implications, is Stuart Taylor, contributing editor for Newsweek and The National Journal, welcome so much.
STUART TAYLOR: Nice to be with you, Jackie.
JACKIE JUDD: The judge ruled in the case brought by the state of Virginia, on what did he base his ruling?
STUART TAYLOR: He said that Congress had no power and the President, and no power in the U.S. Constitution to require individuals who don’t want to buy health insurance to either buy it or pay a penalty for not buying it. And the idea is that Congress does not have unlimited power.
Now, a lot of us have gotten used to the idea that their power is virtually unlimited except for specific provisions of the Bill of Rights, but the Supreme Court has said that they have lots of power but it’s not unlimited. He said penalizing somebody, taxing somebody, call it what you will, for inactivity, just for being born and raised in the United States and deciding not to buy health insurance is beyond the power of Congress and the federal government.
JACKIE JUDD: This is known as the individual mandate, which doesn’t kick in until 2014. What did the judge say about the rest of the bill?