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Lower court judge declares part of Obama's healthcare law unconstitutional

Health insurance

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

JEREMY HOBSON: It looks like President Obama's healthcare law will be decided by the Supreme Court. Yesterday a lower court judge declared part of the law unconstitutional.

Marketplace's Janet Babin is here to tel me in New York what that means for businesses trying to comply with the healthcare reform. Good morning Janet.

JANET BABIN: Good morning Jeremy.

HOBSON: Janet, first, remind us exactly what the judge ruled.

BABIN: The judge ruled that it was, as you said unconstitutional to require people to buy insurance. And if you remember, that was part of President Obama's healthcare reforms, that was to take effect in 2014. Now, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ruled that that provision 'invites an unbridled exercise of federal police powers.' And while the decision was about what individuals have to do, obviously this is going to affect healthcare companies and other businesses that have to eventually comply with this law.

HOBSON: Okay, so how do those companies deal with that uncertainty?

BABIN: Well they're watching whether there's going to be a full repeal -- or just an overhaul of the bill. There are still a number of other legal challenges to the law that have to work their way through the courts. I talked to Dave Shove. He's a senior healthcare analyst at BMO Captial Markets. He told me firms can't plan for some uncertain future.

DAVE SHOVE: Until there is a final ruling, the companies will act as if the law is going to be implemented as written. There's still a lot of gray around that.

After the ruling came down yesterday, health insurers' stock prices initially rose and then taped off later in the day. The speculation being that investors realized that this healthcare soup -- this healthcare bill soup was just going to get even thicker.

HOBSON: Even thicker -- don't know what's going to happen next. Marketplace's Janet Babin, thanks.

BABIN: Thank you.

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