Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Florida Federal District Court Ruling On Health Care Law

“Challenges to the Affordable Care Act have been making their way through the federal courts since the enactment of the historic health care reform law.  Today’s decision by Judge Vinson of the Northern District of Florida is another in a string of lower court decisions on this issue.  Other courts have upheld Congress’s authority to enact the Affordable Care Act.  These cases are already before appellate courts, and there is little doubt the Supreme Court will be the final arbiter of this constitutional question.

“I have long believed in the constitutional authority of Congress to enact the Affordable Care Act.  The language and spirit of the Constitution provides for such action, as does judicial precedent and prior acts of Congress to protect hardworking Americans in the national health care market and promote the general welfare.  At a hearing later this week, the Judiciary Committee will hear compelling testimony on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

“Millions of Americans have access to health care today because of the Affordable Care Act.  With this law, Congress acted to further secure the nation’s social safety net, protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens.  The Affordable Care Act eliminated discriminatory practices by health insurers, ensuring that a patient’s gender was no longer a pre-existing condition.  The historic law provided important tools to help law enforcement recover taxpayer dollars lost to fraud and abuse in the health care system.  Political opponents of the Affordable Care Act are intent on doing in the courts what they could not do in Congress by rolling back these important protections.  As these challenges move through the courts, I hope that the independent judiciary will recognize Congress’s core constitutional authority and the court’s long-standing precedents.”

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