This afternoon, a federal district judge in Florida ruled against the Affordable Care Act. Leader Pelosi on the decision:
Today’s court ruling is one of many. While some are using every means to undermine patients’ rights, we will continue to protect the millions of parents, children, students, seniors who rely on Medicare, and small businesses who are benefiting from reform and will benefit soon. We strongly believe that health reform is constitutional, and is consistent with longstanding precedents of the Supreme Court.
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer:
Today’s court ruling is one of many different district court rulings on this matter and represents one individual step in an ongoing judicial process. I am confident that when the legal process has been concluded, the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act will be upheld.
Despite efforts to undermine the health care reform effort and take away patients’ rights, millions of Americans are already benefiting from The Affordable Care Act; from children with pre-existing conditions to seniors who are now finding it easier to afford prescription drugs. And because today’s ruling did not freeze implementation of the law, I am pleased that they will continue to enjoy those benefits.
“A number of cases have been filed challenging health reform. I have always expected that there was a chance that one or two lower court judges would oppose the clear legal consensus that the law is constitutional. But I firmly believe that the law is constitutional and ultimately that is what the Supreme Court will decide.”
Rep. Waxman, along with other members of the House and Senate Democratic leadership, has filed a bicameral amicus brief with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal affirming his views on the case. Earlier the Michigan court ruled that Congress had the authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to mandate the purchase of health insurance.
Ranking Member Levin: “Over a dozen similar cases have been dismissed or decided in favor of the Affordable Care Act and I am confident that the new law is constitutional. We in Congress must stay focused on continuing to implement a law that has already benefited millions of Americans.”
Ranking Member Stark: “I remember when Republicans thought that activist judges shouldn’t legislate from the bench. Several other judges across the country have already ruled that the health reform law is constitutional, a viewpoint that will win the day at the end of all this partisan posturing.”
Like Judge Hudson’s decision, this decision allows implementation of the law to continue. However, in a departure from the Hudson decision, the ruling ignores judicial convention in striking down the entire law based on one provision.
Republican Appointee Judge Vinson joins one other judge who has ruled against the law, as opposed to over a dozen judges who have ruled that the law is constitutional or have dismissed suits against the law on procedural grounds. Historic laws like health reform were challenged in the courts – lower courts ruled that Social Security, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the minimum wage were unconstitutional before eventually being reversed by the Supreme Court.