Federal court questions health reform's "individual mandate"

This final note, which to be honest, would have been higher in the program if it weren't just one more step in a long legal process. A federal judge in Virgnia ruled today that a key part of the health care law is unconstitutional. Specifically, the part that says that starting in 2014 people will have to buy health insurance or face a government fine.

District Judge Henry Hudson said he can't find a legal basis for what's called the "individual mandate" anywhere in the Commerce Clause. Pretty much everyone agrees the Supreme Court's eventually going to decide this thing.

But the individual mandate's a biggie. Higher volume business is where a lot of health insurance profits will come from to make up for increased coverage they have to offer under the law.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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