PENSACOLA (CBS4) – Florida Federal Judge Roger Vinson ruled the entire health care overhaul passed by Congress, and signed into law by President Barack Obama, unconstitutional Monday afternoon.
For South Floridians, the court battle over the federal health care law could impact two key parts of the population in South Florida.
South Florida has to deal with both the elderly population needing health care continuing to grow; and the numbers of unemployed workers needing health care exorbitantly high with unemployment hovering at 12 percent in Miami-Dade County.
The ruling came down without a trial as Vinson accepted the states’ argument that the new law violates people’s rights by requiring them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face fines.
The White House had argued the states lacked the standing to challenge the law and that the case should be dismissed.
The judge invalidated the entire act because the clause to fine people who don’t buy health insurance isn’t severable. When Congressional Democrats failed to put in the bill the ability of the individual mandate to be severed from the act, the entire law became susceptible to being thrown out.
The lawsuit was first filed by the then Florida attorney general Bill McCollum in a symbolic move made within minutes of President Obama signing the act into law. Florida governor Rick Scott, himself a disgraced former health care executive, issued a statement following the judge’s decision, but declined to cite McCollum’s role.
“I applaud the ruling today by Judge Vinson,” Scott said. “In making his ruling, the judge has confirmed what many of us knew from the start; ObamaCare is an unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement on the liberty of the American people.”
Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who is likely preparing a U.S. Senate run against Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, also commended the decision. He went a step further than Scott and said the U.S. Senate should repeal the health care law.
“With two straight federal courts ruling ObamaCare unconstitutional, this sends a clear message to the United States Senate that it should follow the action of the House and repeal the health care law,” Haridopolos said.
Haridopolos disregarded the other two federal judges ruling the health care law constitutional. A Virginia judge issued a similar ruling to Vinson’s.
A total of 26 states have joined in with Florida to fight the health care law, with almost all of those states led by Republicans.
The case will end up before the Supreme Court and could set up a showdown over exactly how much power states have versus the federal government.
Based on recent comments from the most conservative Supreme Court Justices, and decisions from the Court, the states argument will likely fall on deaf ears.