The Federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform bill passed last year.A three judge panel ruled that the legislation’s so-called “individual mandate” — which requires most Americans to buy health insurance — is constitutional.
It was the first time a federal appeals court has ruled on the Affordable Care Act, and the first time a judge nominated by a Republican President ruled in favour of the bill.
“We find that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause,” Judge Boyce F. Martin Jr. wrote for the majority.
There are at least two other challenges to the Affordable Care Act awaiting decisions by separate appellate courts — and at least one of them is expected to be taken up by the Supreme Court, reports The New York Times.
In a statement, Tracy Schmaler, the deputy director of the Department of Justice office of public affairs, lauded the decision, and added that the Department is confident the law will withstand further judicial scrutiny.
“We will continue to vigorously defend the health care reform statute in any litigation challenging it,” she said.
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