Florida Judge Hears Arguments In 20-State Health Law Challenge; Says Ruling Will Take Time

The Associated Press: Attorneys for 20 states involved in a challenge to the new health law argued Thursday morning before U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson that it will "expand the government's powers in dangerous and unintended ways." The states were seeking "a summary judgment throwing out the health care law without a full trial. They argue it violates people's rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties." The Obama administration "counters that Americans should not have a choice of opting out of the overhaul because everyone requires medical care" and are seeking a summary judgement, "arguing the states don't have standing to challenge the law." Vinson has said he will not rule immediately in the Florida case (Nelson, 12/16).

Reuters: "Following three hours of testimony, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson said the case included weighty issues that will take some time to rule upon. 'I will make a decision as quickly as possible,' Vinson said. 'I cannot give you a date certain' (Peltier, 12/16).

Bloomberg: "Led by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, the states sued the day President Barack Obama signed the legislation in March, arguing it burdens state budgets and unconstitutionally compels people to buy coverage." Vinson said at the start of the hearing that "'we're down to a precious two issues.' ... One issue is whether regulating interstate commerce covers the health-care law, he said, and the other is whether the law improperly coerces states into staying in Medicaid, the state- federal health insurance program for the poor" (Harris and Escobedo, 12/16).

  

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