Florida judge says entire health reform act is unconstitutional

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 01 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d704
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

The entire health reform act is unconstitutional, declared Judge Roger Vinson of the Federal District Court in Pensacola, Florida, on 31 January.

He ruled that the “individual mandate” requiring citizens to have health insurance was unconstitutional. And because the health reform act relied on the mandate to be effective, he declared the entire act unconstitutional.

He said he recognised problems in the US healthcare system but added that the health reform act exceeded constitutional bounds.

In his ruling he wrote, “I must conclude that the individual mandate and the remaining provisions are all inextricably bound together in purpose and must stand or fall as a single unit.” He said that the US Congress had never before required people to buy a product or …

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