Federal appeals court upholds health reform

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati, yesterday ruled in favor of the much-debated health reform bill, affirming that Congress has the power to require that Americans buy health insurance.

As the first appeals court to rule on the law, the three-member panel determined in a 2-1 decision that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate/minimum coverage provision is "constitutionally sound."

According to the appeals court, the provision is legal under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution because viritually everyone is participating in commerce by either purchasing an insurance policy or by self-insuring.

"The Act considered as a whole makes clear that Congress was concerned that individuals maintain minimum coverage not as an end in itself, but because of the economic implications on the broader healthcare market," the decision states.

So far, three of five U.S. district courts have found the ACA's individual mandate law to be constitutional, with two deciding against it.

This ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Law Center, a public interest law firm in Michigan.

To learn more:
- read the decision