A federal appeals court today ruled against a key part of President Obama's sweeping healthcare law. In a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta declared the so-called individual mandate unconstitutional for requiring nearly all Americans to carry health insurance or face penalties.
The decision sided with 26 states, mostly led by Republican governors and attorney generals, which pushed to block the legislation.
Chief Judge Joel Dubina and Circuit Judge Frank Hull found that "the individual mandate contained in the Act exceeds Congress's enumerated commerce power."
Unlike the ruling this past winter in a Pensacola court, this decision did not render the entire law unconstitutional, merely one particular section. In the previous Florida ruling, Judge Roger Vinson found numerous parts of the law unconstitutional and thus the law in its entirety "must be declared void."
Government attorneys will likely appeal the decision, with many legal analysts expect a final ruling to be made by the U.S. Supreme Court. While many changes via the healthcare overhaul have already begun to take effect, the battle to solidify its standing in American political life is far from over.
— By Peter Carril