A federal judge in Florida has tossed out the sweeping health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama, setting up what is likely to be a contentious Supreme Court challenge over the legislation in coming months.
Monday's sweeping ruling came in the most closely watched of the two dozen separate challenges to the law. Florida along with 25 states had filed a lawsuit last spring, seeking to dismiss a law critics had labeled "Obamacare."
U.S. District Judge Robert Vinson declared unconstitutional the key provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- the so-called "individual mandate" requiring most Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties. Vinson also declared unconstitutional the section of the act that withholds Medicare funds from states that refuse to participate.
But unlike another federal judge who ruled the individual mandate unconstitutional last month, Vinson ruled that the unconstitutionality voided the entire act.
"I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system," wrote Vinson. (Continues here)