Fight over healthcare law heads toward Supreme Court
The Obama administration and Republican state attorneys both petition the high court to hand down a ruling early next year.
The constitutional clash over President Obama’s national healthcare law moved closer to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, when both the administration and Republican state attorneys separately asked the justices to hand down a verdict early next year.
Both sides in the legal battle cut short their time for filing their appeal petitions in the high court, and both said they were anxious for a final ruling.
“This healthcare law is an affront on Americans’ individual liberty,” said Florida Atty. Gen. Pam Bondi. “This case is paramount in our history and will define the boundaries of Congress’ power as set forth in our Constitution.”
She spoke for Republican officials in 26 states who sued in Florida to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, and she asked the high court to strike down the entire measure, not just its mandate that all Americans have health insurance.
In August, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, ruling on the Florida lawsuit, struck down the mandate as unconstitutional, but upheld the rest of the law.
Shortly after Florida’s announcement, U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. asked the high court to review the 11th Circuit decision and to uphold the law in full. He said the justices should defer to “the considered judgment of the elected branches of government on how to address a crisis in the national healthcare market.”
Under the new law, all Americans with taxable income must have minimal health insurance by 2014 or pay a tax penalty that begins at $95. Verrilli said that provision was needed to make sure that all who can afford it pay a share of the costs. Uninsured people used $116 billion worth of healthcare services in 2008, he told the court, and these costs were paid by others with insurance or by taxpayers…