Health Care Reform Law Arguments Get First Hearing in Appellate Court

Arguments pertaining to the constitutionality of the federal health care law will be heard on Tuesday in a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia. This health reform court hearing will be the first held in an appellate court and is a continuation of two court decisions ruling in favor or against the law.

Constitutionality of Health Reform in Question

According to USA Today, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will be looking at the provision in the health care reform law that requires people to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty.

Many states have already filed suit against the law in lower courts to dispute the provision, stating that Congress has no power under the commerce clause to require people to purchase insurance. In Florida, a federal judge ruled that the provision was unconstitutional, prompting a separate appeal that will be heard in Atlanta.

Two Cases to Be Heard in Virginia

In total, 31 suits have been filed challenging the reform law. In the Richmond appellate court, two cases are to be heard:

  • Virginia v. Sebelius: In this case, a lower court struck down the health insurance requirement, prompting an appeal.
  • Liberty University v. Geitner: In this case, which involves a Christian college, the lower court upheld the law.

In addition to these court cases, Republicans in the House of Representatives have worked to repeal health care reform. Most recently, the House banned state access to health insurance exchange grant money. However, most think this step will not be approved in the Senate and definitely not by President Barack Obama.

Another recent step taken by Republicans was the House procedural vote, which allows for lawmakers to repeal the overhaul of health care. So far, Congressional votes to repeal all or part of the law have not made it out of the House, but lawmakers have expressed their plan to push for a repeal of the law until it’s complete.