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Health Reform Declared Constitutional

In a boost to health reform efforts, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Michigan ruled last Thursday that the PPACA is constitutional. The ruling denied the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction and dismissed their claims that the individual mandate in health reform is unconstitutional based on commerce clause and taxing powers arguments.

The decision is important because it may provide some counterweight to unfavorable decisions likely to emerge in the coming weeks in both Virginia and Florida federal court cases. In the Florida case, it is widely expected that the judge will deny the Department of Justice’s Motion to Dismiss an anti-reform suit brought by twenty states. The integrity of the Florida anti-reform lawsuit is colored by the fact that many of the state attorneys’ general or governors who signed onto the Florida anti-reform suit are in states that are leading the way for early Medicaid expansions, already run expansion programs, and/or voted overwhelmingly in favor of reform in the political and legislative processes over the past two years.

Note, in particular, that one of the anti-reform arguments explicitly rejected by the Michigan judge – that the individual mandate is an impermissible regulation of non-economic inactivity – also features prominently in the Florida lawsuit.

For more on the decision, see our friend’s analysis at NHeLP and this recent Washington Post article.