Attorney General Bill McCollum Releases Summary Analysis of the Health Care Lawsuit Ruling

Media Contact: Ryan Wiggins
Phone: (850) 245-0150

Oct. 14, 2010--Attorney General Bill McCollum today released the following summary analysis of the Court's ruling today on the Health Care Lawsuit:

-Judge Vinson spends more than 20 pages on the Anti-injunction Act and tax issues and concludes that the Individual Mandate is not a tax as the Department of Justice has argued, mostly because Congress called it a penalty and knew how to enact a "tax" if it so desired.

-Individual Mandate - "At this stage of the litigation, this is not even a close call.... The power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent." [see p. 61] This case on the individual mandate is "very different" than Wickard or Raich because people have no choice and cannot avoid its reach by remaining inactive. "Rather, it is based solely on citizenship and on being alive.... the plaintiffs have most definitely stated a plausible claim with respect to this cause of action." [p. 64]

-Medicaid expansion - Judge Vinson found a plausible claim because if the U.S. Supreme Court "meant what it said in Dole and Steward Machine Co., there is a line somewhere between mere pressure and impermissible coercion ... [that is] a question of degree, at times, perhaps, of fact." [quoting and emphasizing the language of Steward Machine] However, Judge Vinson noted "wobbly" and "shaky" nature of coercion claims that have been rejected by many Circuit courts but not in the 11th Circuit. Judge Vinson also sketched out the Hobson's Choice presented to states under which they will be substantially harmed if either they accede to the new Medicaid program or opt out.

-Judge Vinson said individual and association standing is satisfied because a realistic danger of direct injury has been pled and potential harm to National Federation of Independent Business members is germane to NFIB's purpose and mission. (Note standing was not challenged as to the States bringing the Medicaid expansion claim).

-Judge Vinson found no ripeness concern because injury is certainly impending and harm will be felt in the immediate or near future.

A copy of the ruling can be obtained at:$file/Order+on+MTD+%5BDE+79%5D.pdf

Additional information about the health care lawsuit can be found at: