Appeals court upholds health-care law
The ruling is not expected to be the end to the case brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. It is anticipated that the challenge to the reform law will eventually be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We respectfully disagree with the panel’s reasoning. To conclude that a state has no standing to challenge an expensive and burdensome federal mandate on its citizens that the state has banned in its law, might cause James Madison and George Mason, Virginia’s principal drafters of our nation’s founding documents, to promptly roll in their graves. To dismiss a Virginia statute as a basis for standing, declaring it to be ‘quintessentially political,’ and asserting that a state cannot be a ‘constitutional watchdog’ undermines our precious principles of federalism. This decision must be promptly appealed,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said.
Reactions to the ruling split down party and ideological lines.
“It would be unfortunate if politics had any part in this decision,” Republican State Del. Bob Marshall said. “The Fourth Circuit panel was truly remarkable, for it included only judges appointed by Democratic presidents — including two new judges who had only recently been appointed by President Obama: Andre M. Davis of Maryland and James A. Wynn, Jr. of North Carolina. Diana Gribbon Motz of Maryland was appointed by President Clinton.”
“The U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond has demonstrated a shocking lack of understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the intent of the states that ratified it, by virtue of the court’s ruling today that Virginia has no standing to challenge the constitutionality of a federal law that directly conflicts with a Virginia statute,” Republican U.S. Senate nomination candidate Jamie Radtke said.
Progressives had a decidedly different reaction to the ruling.
“Today we celebrate the end of Cuccinelli’s health care lawsuit which wasted time, taxpayer dollars and sought to return us to a status quo that leaving a million Virginians without coverage and putting the insurance companies back in the driver’s seat ,” said Jim Lindsay of the Virginia Organizing Health Care Committee. “Many Virginians are already seeing the benefits of the law and do not want to overturn or repeal it. The elected officials pursuing this lawsuit should recognize that it is contrary to their constituents’ interests and refocus their resources on protecting, rather than undermining, consumers.”
“As a physician, I have observed overcrowding in the emergency department and unnecessary suffering resulting from Americans lack of health insurance. I applaud the decision by the Federal Appeals Court today. Upholding the Affordable Care Act is critical to improving the health and health care system in our country,” said Dr. Chris Lillis, a Fredericksburg physician and member of the Virginia Organizing Health Care Committee.
“The Fourth Circuit Court did the right thing by upholding the health care law. The decision is a relief because many small business owners like myself are already seeing the benefits of the health care law through small business tax credits. I received tax credits last year that helped me afford rising premiums for my 25 employees. Upholding the Affordable Care Act means upholding my ability to provide health insurance for my employees,” said Kevin Wilson, owner of Sticky To Go-Go and The Cellar Door in Richmond.