Friday, December 3, 2010

Virginia court dismisses health reform challenge

In the latest round in the ongoing legal debate over the constitutionality of portions of the Affordable Care Act, a district court in Virginia has dismissed a challenge to the employer and individual coverage provisions of the ACA.

Liberty University, the plaintiff in the case (Liberty University v. U.S., DC VA, No. 6:10-cv-00015-nkm), offered nine separate challenges to the health reform law. It claimed that the ACA's provisions violated numerous parts of the Constitution, including the Commerce Clause, the Guarantee Clause, and the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment.

U.S. District Court Judge Norman K. Moon dismissed all the challenges. With respect to the Commerce Clause claim, the court noted that "the employer and individual coverage provisions are a regulation of interstate commerce authorized by the Commerce Clause."

An appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is expected. In November, the Supreme Court declined to hear one challenge to the ACA. In addition, a Michigan federal court dismissed another constitutional challenge to the Act, while a Florida court has allowed two challenges to move forward.

For a comprehensive analysis of the Affordable Care Act, including the full text of the law and additional information on health reform and other developments in employee benefits, just click here.


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