London, Feb 1 (ANI): A Florida judge has taken the initiating step of declaring the Obama administration's health care overhaul as 'unconstitutional' after rendering his support to 26 states that sued to block it, saying that Americans should be not be compelled to buy health insurance.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson slammed Congress for compelling nearly all US citizens to be insured or pay a fine, the Washington Post reports.
Describing the law as "a finely crafted watch" in which "one essential piece is defective and must be removed," he ruled that the insurance mandate cannot be separated from the rest of the statute and therefore the entire law must be voided, the paper said.
"There are simply too many moving parts . . . for me to try and dissect out . . . the able-to-stand-alone from the unable-to-stand alone," he wrote.
Vincent, however, supported the law's expansion of Medicaid, the public insurance program for the poor and disabled that is jointly funded by the states and the federal government, and rejected the states' argument that the expansion infringes on their sovereignty.
The case is one of 25 challenges that have been filed in federal courts since the law was enacted last March. As of now, four suits have been decided, with two favouring the law while two others finding it 'unconstitutional', the paper added.
The Supreme Court is expected to eventually settle the law's constitutionality.
In his 78-page opinion, Vinson, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, agreed with the states' argument that a person's refusal to buy health insurance does not amount to economic activity and is therefore beyond Congress's power to regulate under the Constitution's commerce clause.
He also rejected the government's argument that Congress also was justified in imposing the insurance mandate under the clause empowering Congress to make all laws "necessary and proper" to carrying out its enumerated constitutional powers.
"Rather than being used to implement or facilitate enforcement of the Act's insurance industry reforms, the individual mandate is actually being used as the means to avoid the adverse consequences of the Act itself. Under such a rationale, the more harm the statue does, the more power Congress could assume for itself under the Necessary and Proper Clause," he ruled. (ANI)