KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Florida, Federal Court Judge Considers Health-Care Challenge By States

In Florida, a federal court judge heard oral arguments surrounding the 20-state challenge to the health overhaul. At issue are two key elements of the new law: its mandate requiring that almost everyone have health insurance and its expansions of the Medicaid program. Although the judge said his ruling would take some time, he did offer some signals about the direction he might take.

The New York Times: Judge Hints He May Rule Against Health Law
A federal judge asserted on Thursday that it would be "a giant leap" for the Supreme Court to accept the Obama administration's defense of a central provision of the new health care law, suggesting he may become the second judge to strike it down as unconstitutional (Sack, 12/16).

NPR: States Ask Court To Throw Out Health Law
Twenty states asked a federal judge in Florida Thursday to find the federal health care overhaul unconstitutional. It was part of the states' attempt to get U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to strike down the health care law in a summary judgment without a full trial (Elliott, 12/16).

The Washington Post: Florida Judge Weighs Health-Care Challenge By States
Three days after a federal judge granted Virginia's request to void a key provision of the U.S. health-care overhaul law, a federal judge in this coastal city signaled that he is likely to follow suit in a case brought by Florida and 19 other states (Aizenman, 12/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Judge Leery Of Health Mandate
A federal judge in a 20-state lawsuit against the Obama administration's health overhaul signaled Thursday he is sympathetic to the plaintiffs' argument that requiring Americans to carry health insurance violates the Constitution (Adamy, 12/17).

Health News Florida: FL: Law Violates States' Rights
Florida's case includes a challenge to the individual mandate, but also charges that the expansion of Medicaid, which plaintiffs contend could add 18 million to the Medicaid roles – a 30% increase – is an unconstitutional expansion of the federal-state program that will cost states billions more to put in place. State officials said their objection to the expansion of Medicaid the law appears to require was not just based on immediate cost concerns, but worries about the larger notion that the federal government could require different types of spending by states even when they don't have money (Peltier, 12/16).

The Miami Herald: McCollum's Challenge Of Obama's Health Care Plan Is Central To National Debate
As Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum argues against the new federal health care law Thursday, he adds to a court file already swollen with "friend of the court'' briefs from around the country. The suit brought by McCollum and attorneys general from 19 other states has become the nexus of a national debate over the new law, with more than 50 groups representing numerous organizations and thousands of individuals making legal arguments from the sidelines (Zink, 12/16).

The Associated Press: 20 States Ask Judge To Throw Out Obama Health Law
Attorneys for 20 states fighting the new federal health care law told a judge Thursday it will expand the government's powers in dangerous and unintended ways. The states want U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to issue a summary judgment throwing out the health care law without a full trial (Nelson, 12/16).

Bloomberg: Obama Health Law Should Be Completely Thrown Out, States Argue In Florida
The Obama administration's health care reform should be thrown out because it overreaches the federal government's authority, opponents argued in a Florida lawsuit three days after a judge in Virginia ruled part of the law unconstitutional (Harris and Escobedo, 12/17).

Reuters: U.S., States Spar In Florida Court Over Health Law
Attorneys for the Obama administration and 20 U.S. states sparred in court on Thursday over whether the new health care law oversteps constitutional limits on federal authority by requiring most Americans to buy medical insurance (Peltier, 12/16).

Politico: Health Judge Fears 'Broccoli' Mandate
In a federal courtroom Thursday, Judge Roger Vinson questioned how far Congress's authority would go if it can legally require nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance. Could they "mandate everybody has to buy a certain amount of broccoli?" Vinson questioned, comparing the positive impact both could have on health. The comments came during oral arguments in the constitutional challenge 20 states have brought against the health reform law - just days after a federal judge in Virginia struck down the same controversial piece of President Obama's signature legislation (Haberkorn, 12/16).

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