Judge Upholds Mandate to Buy Health Insurance

In the first ruling on a bevy of lawsuits against the healthcare reform law's mandating the purchase of health insurance, a federal judge in Michigan ruled the provision is constitutional, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

Judge George C. Steeh, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton, ruled that choosing not to obtain insurance qualified as an example of "activities that substantially affect interstate commerce."

The Thomas More Law Center, which brought the lawsuit, said it plans to appeal the decision. Similar cases in Florida and Virginia are headed toward hearings on the same issue.

In addition to ruling on the constitutionality of the mandate, Judge Steeh noted that allowing individuals to not buy insurance would drive up the cost of care and provide incentive for people to wait to buy health insurance only until they needed it. "As a result, the most costly individuals would be in the insurance system and the least costly would be outside it," he wrote. "In turn, this would aggravate current problems with cost-shifting and lead to even higher premiums."

Read the Wall Street Journal Law Blog report on healthcare reform.

Read the opinion by Judge George C. Steeh (pdf).

Read more coverage of the health insurance mandate:

- HHS Files Motion to Dismiss Virginia Challenge to Insurance Mandate

- 6 Ways Republicans Plan to Chip Away at Reform Law After Election

- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty Rejects All Funds From Reform Bill

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