Campaign for Better Health Care responds to Federal District Judge Ruling on ACA Provision

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Florida Federal District Judge Declares One Provision of Affordable Care Act “Unconstitutional”

Chicago, IL – A federal district judge in Florida became the second judge in the country to rule against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

Judge Roger Vinson, appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan, is only the second of fifteen federal judges to rule against the PPACA. The judge declared that the entire law is null and void even though the only provision he found unconstitutional was the “individual responsibility” provision.  This decision is at odds with decades of established Supreme Court law, which has consistently found that courts have a constitutional obligation to preserve as a much of a statute as can be preserved. Vinson declined to enjoin the law, though, which means that implementation will continue in the 26 states until higher court rulings are handed down.
Prior to the Florida federal court ruling, 14 other federal district judges rejected lawsuits charging that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Today’s ruling bears no more authority than the other 14 court rulings by federal judges who all determined that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional or rejected the lawsuits on procedural grounds. 
Every person requires health care at many times in life.  It is incorrect to assume that the new law requires people to enter into the health care marketplace. Everyone is in the health care marketplace already. 
Instead, this law ensures that people take personal responsibility to pay for the health care services they will inevitably receive, rather than burdening their neighbors, taxpayers and medical providers with their medical bills.  Frankly, this is just another example of doublespeak by the opponents of fairness.  They preach personal responsibility, but are in fact advocating for people to freeload on the health care system. 
People like Judge Vinson, the states attorneys general who brought this suit, and politicians who oppose the Affordable Care Act in Springfield and DC are the same individuals who gladly receive taxpayer subsidized, government administered and financed private health insurance plans for themselves and their families.  Why do they want to deny that same level of security to you and your family?  They do a great job talking the talk, but walking the walk is a whole different story.  They should  drop their taxpayer subsidized health care plan and shoulder the burden of finding and paying for private insurance in the marketplace like they suggest everyone else should do.

The Affordable Care Act has already made a difference in the lives of millions of Illinoisans.  Over 2.5 million state residents under the age of 65 who have pre-existing conditions will now be able to get health insurance. All of Illinois’s 1,770,000 seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare will no longer have to pay for preventive services, and many will have more help paying for prescriptions. In total, 1,163,000 uninsured Illinoisans will gain insurance coverage.

Jim Duffett, Executive Director for the Campaign for Better Health Care, said, “Just like they did with Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, and the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote, the opponents of fairness will continue to try every means available to overturn federal law that has brought fairness, equally and justice to our great nation. Just like in these historical cases, if this case even makes it to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will rule like the other 14 federal judges have ruled.”

Health care is the key to economic security and opportunity, and the Affordable Care Act is finally bringing fairness to the health care system for American families. Today’s ruling is more political hype than sound legal judgment,” Duffett concluded.

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