In the first ruling by a federal appeals court on President Obama's health-care overhaul, a panel in Cincinnati affirmed Wednesday that Congress can require Americans to have minimum insurance coverage.
A conservative law center had challenged the measure, arguing on behalf of plaintiffs who claimed that potential penalties for not having purchased insurance, were subjecting them to financial hardship. They warned that the law was too broad and could lead to more federal mandates.
The Thomas More Law Center, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., argued before the panel that the law was unconstitutional and that Congress overstepped its powers.
The government countered that the measure was needed for the overall goal of reducing health care costs and implementing reforms, such as protecting people with pre-existing conditions. The federal ruling continued, stating that the coverage mandate will help keep the costs of changes from being shifted to households and providers.
An attorney for Thomas More said the Center expects to appeal. The Center could ask for the full circuit court to review the case or it may proceed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This case was one of five awaiting appeals court decisions or arguments. Decisions on lower court rulings that overruled the health law in Florida and Virginia are still pending.
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