In a 78-page opinion (scroll down to read), Judge Roger Vinson has ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstititional and has voided the entire law; a decision that is a result of a legal challenge supported by 26 states:
A federal judge in Florida struck down the entire healthcare reform law Monday afternoon, ruling that the requirement for individuals to purchase insurance is unconstitutional and is too central to making the law function.
In the most high-profile challenge to the reform law yet, U.S. District Jude Roger Vinson ruled that the so-called individual mandate exceeds congressional power. Further, he said the whole law cannot stand because the law depends on the mandate to work.
“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,” Vinson wrote.
Vinson’s ruling goes further than the ruling issued last month by Judge Henry Hudson, who only struck down the individual mandate as a overreach of the Commerce Clause.
The existing problems in our national health care system are recognized byeveryone in this case. There is widespread sentiment for positive improvementsthat will reduce costs, improve the quality of care, and expand availability in a waythat the nation can afford. This is obviously a very difficult task. Regardless of howlaudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the Act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution. Again,this case is not about whether the Act is wise or unwise legislation. It is about the Constitutional role of the federal government.
For the reasons stated, I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceededthe bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems andinequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one sixthof the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform andregulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal disputehas been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here.
Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, theentire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and Iam aware that it will have indeterminable implications. At a time when there isvirtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, itis hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
Here is the full-text of the decision: