Several state attorneys general are waiting on the new year for a Federal court judge in Florida to rule on the constitutionality of mandatory health insurance, effective 2014.
The multi-state lawsuit, which includes South Carolina, was heard last Thursday. State Attorney General Henry McMaster is confident the judge will rule that the mandate oversteps the bounds of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
One Virginia judge ruled a week ago that it is unconstitutional. However, earlier, another judge in Virginia and one in Michigan ruled it is constitutional.
USC Law School professor Jacqueline Fox says it appears the argument is more about the interpretation of Commerce Clause and less about the health care law.
For the record, Fox believes that the mandate is constitutional because the business of health insurance involves interstate commerce. McMaster says it does not.
Fox says it is clear that opponents of the health care law want a more clearly defined interpretation of which powers are granted to states and the federal government respectively under the Commerce Clause.
Fox says there is no doubt that this is a hot political issue, noting that the judge who recently ruled that the mandate was unconstitutional is a Bush appointee, while the judges who ruled that the mandate was constitutional are Democratic appointees.
Fox says going back almost 80 years, the Supreme Court has made rulings that have broadened the federal government’s scope as it pertains to the Commerce Clause.
Fox says it is clear that in the decisions made by judges so far, they are not going to put the brakes on the entire law, much to the chagrin of those who oppose the measure.
Fox says many citizens have expressed that they are in favor of the expansion of Medicaid, coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and that adult offspring can stay on their parents’ policy until the age of 26.