Media Release: Heartland Institute Experts React to Florida Court Ruling Obamacare Unconstitutional

Published January 31, 2011

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled Monday from Florida that the Obama administration’s health care overhaul is unconstitutional, siding with 26 states that sued to block it. The Florida-based judge accepted without trial the states’ argument that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – commonly called Obamacare – violates people’s constitutional rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties. (A PDF of the ruling can be found by clicking here.)

The following statements from health care policy experts at The Heartland Institute may be used for attribution.

Peter Ferrara, senior fellow at the Heartland Institute for health care policy, general counsel of the American Civil Rights Union, and author of The Obamacare Disaster: An Appraisal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

“With the powerful decision of the Florida Federal District Court today joining the earlier Virginia Federal District Court holding central aspects of Obamacare unconstitutional, the handwriting is now on the wall. A minimum of four U.S. Supreme Court Justices are going to agree that central aspects of Obamacare are unconstitutional as well. I predict a fifth will join them.”

For more comment, contact Peter Ferrara at [email protected] or 703/582-8466.

Ben Domenech, research fellow for health care policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News:                                      

“There is little question that the constitutionality of President Obama’s nationalized health insurance regime will ultimately end up at the U.S. Supreme Court. Given that the cases involved are focused on questions of law rather than ascertaining or investigating facts, that the law in question has been challenged now by a majority of states, and that the law’s enforcement holds massive ramifications for the American economy, I hope the Supreme Court will consider fast-tracking these cases to be considered as soon as possible.

“Until this question is resolved one way or the other, health policy in the United States must engage in a schizophrenic period which pits states against the federal bureaucracy. This is not a healthy expression of federalism, and this extraordinary degree of uncertainty ultimately does a disservice to every citizen. The fault here lies with the policymakers who rushed this mishmash of legislation through the Congress for political reasons, sacrificing coherent policy for the sake of hoped-for political gain.

“The American people now bear the pain of this monumental mistake of leadership, and as they are all individual stakeholders in the current debate, they deserve to know, and know soon, whether the Constitution allows their government to command them to purchase a product under its Commerce Clause authority or not. Not since Bush v. Gore has there been a case which so justly merits expedited consideration.”                                                                                   

Domenech can be reached for additional comment at [email protected] or 703/509-1741.

The Heartland Institute is a 26-year-old national nonprofit organization based in Chicago. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site at or call 312/377-4000.