Federal Judge Rules Against Federal Health Care Bill, Wisconsin Still Expected to Move Forward on Suit

[Madison, Wisc…] Wisconsin’s efforts to repeal provisions of the recently-passed federal health care reform bill are not likely to be impacted by a federal court ruling Monday.

“Wisconsin’s involvement is as important now as ever,” said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. “I look forward to receiving authorization from Governor-elect Walker when he takes office to allow Wisconsin to defend the state and its citizens against the federal government’s unconstitutional overreach.”

Earlier today, US District Judge Henry Hudson (VA, Eastern District) ruled that the individual insurance mandate included in the bill, often referred to as Obamacare, was unconstitutonal.

“The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision would invite the unbridled exercise of federal police powers,” Judge Hudson wrote in a 42-page opinion.

Several states have pursued legal action against the federal health care reform bill. In all more than 20 lawsuits have been filed against the legislation. However,  Monday’s decision, in a case brought forward by Virgina Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, was the first successful challenge. Earlier, two of the lawsuits were met with rulings favoring the Obama Administration.  The law is not rescinded, however, as the ruling is one of several in a multi-front legal battle that is likely headed to the Supreme Court.

“Our federal government is one of limited, enumerated powers,” said Van Hollen. “Congress’ action here was unprecedented, and as found by the District Court, unconstitutional. While health care reform can be an appropriate object of congressional action, it must be done in a manner consistent with our Constitution.”

Van Hollen tried to block the individual mandate in March of this year.

“Based on my preliminary review of the Act, I have concluded that a sufficient legal basis exists to contest the individual mandate to carry health insurance or pay a penalty under the Act,” Van Hollen (R) wrote in a letter to Governor Jim Doyle (D), and legislative leaders at the time.

However, Van Hollen failed in his effort to have Wisconsin join a multi-state lawsuit against the healthcare reform bill when his request was rebuffed by Governor Doyle.

Since this fall’s elections, things have changed in the Badger State. Governor-elect Walker has said he will authorized Van Hollen to participate in the mulit-state action, which is a separate court filing from the Virginia case upon which Judge Hudson ruled today.

Van Hollen said his arguments will at times mirror those made by Judge Hudson in today’s ruling.

“The Court’s concern is the same as mine: Congress has exceeded its Commerce Clause powers when it passed a law compelling individuals to involuntarily purchase a commodity, or face a penalty,” said Van Hollen. “In this case it is insurance. In another it could be a car or another commodity. Such regulation is beyond Congress’ lawful powers.”