Appeals Court Agrees To Expedite Florida Suit Against Health LawThe Associated Press: Appeals Court Speeds Up Health Overhaul Appeal
A federal appeals court has agreed to act swiftly in considering a Florida judge's ruling that President Obama's health care overhaul is unconstitutional. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said Friday that it had agreed to expedite the appeal, setting a faster timetable than even the federal government had requested. The decision means the federal government must file its first set of court papers on the issues in the case by April 4, and the state of Florida has until May 4 to file its papers. The federal government would file additional papers by May 18. The appeals court said it had not made a decision on a request that the initial review be held before all 10 federal judges (3/11).
Bloomberg: U.S. Health-Care Lawsuit Expedited By Atlanta Appeals Court
A U.S. appeals court in Atlanta put on an expedited schedule the federal government's appeal of a judge's decision throwing out the Obama administration's health-care law. The court today granted a U.S. Justice Department request to speed consideration of the administration's bid to reverse U.S. District Judge C. Roger Vinson's Jan. 31 ruling in the lawsuit, which was brought by 26 states. Vinson, based in Pensacola, Florida, decided that a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requiring almost every American to have some form of medical insurance starting in 2014 was unconstitutional. Deeming that mandate inseparable from the legislation, he declared the entire measure invalid (Harris, 3/11).
As the legal case continues, members of Congress are also trying to press the administration for details about the crafting of the health law.
The Associated Press/The Washington Post: White House Rebuffs GOP On Health Care Records
President Barack Obama once promised that negotiations over his health care overhaul would be carried out openly, in front of TV cameras and microphones. Tell that to the White House now. Republican congressional investigators got the brush-off this week after pressing for details of meetings between White House officials and interest groups, including drug companies and hospitals that provided critical backing for Obama's health insurance expansion (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/12).
Meanwhile, Sen. Orrin Hatch had some harsh words about Senate staff members who helped draft the health law.
Politico: Orrin Hatch: Ted Kennedy Wouldn't Have Wanted Health Care Law
Sen. Orrin Hatch says health care reform would have likely turned out far differently had Sen. Ted Kennedy been able to shepherd the legislation through the Senate, arguing that one of the Senate bills was staff-driven. During a speech at the Hudson Institute on Friday, Hatch said it was the staff of the Massachusetts Democrat who drafted a partisan bill during Kennedy's illness. ... But by the time the legislation emerged in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Hatch said the drafts looked far different from something Kennedy would have wanted. Hatch said he approached a "top" but unnamed Kennedy aide about what happened. "He said - and this is a direct quote - 'I don't care what Sen. Kennedy wants; this is what I want,'" Hatch said (Haberkorn, 3/11).
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