Appeals court upholds Obama healthcare law - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Appeals court upholds Obama healthcare law

CINCINNATI (RNN) - A federal appeals court in Ohio says the new law that requires Americans to purchase health insurance is constitutional, handing a victory to the Obama administration in the first round of appellate reviews.

The "individual mandate," which is the most hotly contended portion of the recent overhaul of the nation's healthcare system, requires the majority of Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or be slapped with monetary repercussions.

A three-judge panel ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the individual mandate exceeds Congress' commerce powers in all of its applications.

A spokesperson for the Thomas More Law Center, the public interest law firm that filed the suit, said Wednesday a legal team was still reviewing the court's decision.

The lone dissent came from U.S. District Judge James Graham, another Republican appointee.

"If the exercise of power is allowed and the mandate upheld, it is difficult to see what the limits on Congress' Commerce Clause authority would be," he argued. "What aspect of human activity would escape federal power?"

Judge Graham said a structural shift of how interstate commerce is regulated can only be legitimately accomplished through a constitutional amendment.

Another challenge jointly filed by Florida and 25 other states is currently being weighed by Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals also heard oral arguments on May 10.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear an expedited appeal of Virginia's lawsuit against the federal health care law.

"This case's logical end point is the Supreme Court," said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli at the time. "It will simply have to make its way through the Fourth Circuit first."

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