By InsuranceNewsNet Staff Writer
Dec. 13, 2010 -- A federal district judge in Virginia ruled the health coverage mandate unconstitutional, but refused to freeze implementation of the law, according to media reports.
Judge Henry E. Hudson in a 42-page opinion said the law’s requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, according to The New York Times. Insurance companies had demanded the mandate in exchange for dropping all exclusions and agreeing to universal coverage. Insurers argued that without the mandate, healthy people would opt out, leaving companies with the sickest and most expensive people in the pool.
The Virginia case, which was filed by the state’s attorney general, is one of dozens of lawsuits to challenge health care reform. This is the first decision against the law and appeals are expected to work their way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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