April 24, 2014

Impact of health care ruling likely limited

A federal judge in Virginia on Monday ruled part of the federal health care law unconstitutional, but a law professor from the UW-Madison says the battle is likely far from over.

The judge ruled that the government cannot require Americans to purchase health insurance, striking what many see as a major blow to the reforms passed by Congress.  However, UW-Madison Assistant law Professor Andrew Coan says the short-term legal effects of the decision are limited because the court did not issue an injunction against implementation of the health care law.  The ruling simply declared that the individual insurance mandate is unconstitutional.

Coan says the more immediate impact of the decision will likely be the influence it has on public perception of the federal health care law, since it essentially puts a “legal stamp of approval” on the arguments that have been made by conservative advocates who have been fighting against the law.

The case now goes to the Court of Appeals, but it’s just one of several challenges that could end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:14)