A federal ruling puts Obama’s signature legislation on a path to the high court. Judge Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Florida stopped short of blocking implementation of President Obama’s health overhaul, but he sure put a damper on things. And that now makes two federal judges who’ve ruled against it.
With so many lawsuits going in all directions, at some point the Supreme Court will have to deal with it. The argument (which Vinson bought) that Congress has no power to require all Americans to buy health insurance appears to be the strongest. The next step for the Florida decision will be the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, considered one of the most conservative in the country.
Although Obama had the chance to add justices, the Supreme Court is still packed with enough conservatives to make this a close case. And unless it moves faster than most, this blockbuster could unfold deep into his reelection bid.
Losing the individual mandate could be a body blow to Obama’s biggest achievement. Insurance companies mostly held their fire against the legislation, which increased regulation of the industry, in exchange for making it a federal requirement for everyone to buy their products. What industry wouldn’t put up with a few headaches for such a boost to their business?
But if that provision goes away you can bet the insurance lobby would rev up friendly lawmakers to repeal provisions that cut into their profits – and unravel the whole program.