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Virginia Court Dismisses Health Reform Challenge

Yesterday, a federal judge in Richmond, Virginia dismissed Liberty University‘s lawsuit challenging the PPACA, declaring that the individual mandate — the provision requiring most individuals to obtain insurance — is constitutional.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Norman Moon is the second court decision upholding federal health reform. In October, a Michigan court did the same. There are other suits going on, one in Florida and another in Virginia brought by the state’s Attorney General.

For more, see today’s California Healthline, Bloomberg News, and the White House blog.

Details of The Decision

The major legal question at issue is whether Congress has the authority to impose an individual mandate. Proponents argue that it does, because Congress can regulate interstate commerce under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. The University argued that a decision not to buy insurance is not economic activity, and therefore not interstate commerce under purview of Congressional regulation.

Judge Moon, in declaring the law constitutional, found “there is a rational basis for Congress to conclude that individuals’ decisions about how and when to pay for health care are activities that in the aggregate substantially affect the interstate health care market.”

Only the Beginning

Liberty University Law School Dean Mathew Staver said he will appeal the ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond as soon as possible.

Both sides expect the issue to ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.