Update: Appeals Court Upholds Individual Mandate in Federal Health Care Reform Law

Thanks again to Kaiser Health News for a synopsis of stories on the D.C. Court of Appeals decision to uphold the individual mandate (requiring most Americans to buy health insurance) in the federal health care reform law.  This link also provides a full text of the ruling.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Never has an opinion out of the DC Circuit on such an important issue meant so little”, in the belief that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the issue, sooner rather than later.  The Hill calls the decision, “a major symbolic win to the health law’s supporters”.  This is no doubt true, but in the current tally, two courts have ruled in favor of the mandate and one has ruled against it.  Another court declined to rule, citing procedural concerns.  Things may be looking up for the individual mandate and for the health reform law, generally.

Supporters of the health reform law are elated at the Court of Appeals decision, since it was authored by a Reagan-appointed conservative judge.  Opponents believe they will achieve victory with a Supreme Court hearing.  Meanwhile, the individual mandate is still scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2014.

Update: Here’s an editorial from New York Times, saying it’s significant that Republican judges affirmed Obama’s health care plan.

-Jaime Venditti, 11/12/11