It’s a setback for those who oppose health care reform. A federal judge in Detroit has rejected an attempt to stop some provisions of the new national health care law.
Judge George Caram Steeh ruled that Congress did not exceed its authority by requiring people to have insurance by 2014. He also turned down a challenge Thursday to the financial penalty that comes with having no insurance.
A Michigan-based Christian legal group and four people filed a lawsuit in March, claiming the law is unconstitutional.
This may be the first federal court decision to address claims that Congress over-stepped its constitutional authority by requiring most individuals to obtain health care insurance coverage or pay a penalty, beginning in 2014.
Similar challenges to the new law are pending in several other courts across the country.
The lawsuit was filed by the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor. The individual plaintiffs don’t have health insurance and said they object to the federal government demanding that they buy it.
The plaintiffs say if they don’t purchase health insurance and are forced to pay a penalty tax, their tax money could be used to pay for abortions, which they also find objectionable.
The judge says lawmakers intended to lower the overall cost of health insurance by requiring people to participate. Steeh said Congress didn’t exceed powers allowed under the Constitution’s commerce clause, which authorizes Congress to regulate activities which substantially affect interstate commerce.
You can read the judge’s entire opinion at mied.uscourts.gov.
A message seeking comment was left with the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor. The plaintiffs are expected to appeal the court’s decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report)