KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Law Challenges Shift To Florida Courtroom

Today marks a "new day in court" as oral arguments will be heard in a Florida courtroom regarding the 20-state legal challenge. This lawsuit includes issues surrounding the health law's individual mandate and Medicaid expansions. Meanwhile, analysis continues regarding Monday's decision by a federal court judge in Virginia and a new round of debate regarding whether the health overhaul lawsuits bring to light issues of judicial bias.

Politico: New Day In Court For Health Reform
The health care reform law confronts its most high-profile and politically charged challenge in a Florida courtroom Thursday, just three days after a federal judge in Virginia struck down a piece of the law in a similar case. Twenty states plan to present oral arguments Thursday that Congress overstepped its bounds when it passed the legislation, which requires nearly all Americans to buy insurance and states to expand their Medicaid programs (Haberkorn, 12/16).

The Christian Science Monitor: Health Care Reform: Battleground Shifts To Florida Courtroom
The escalating legal battle over the constitutionality of President Obama's health care reform law moves Thursday to Florida and to a federal judge who has already expressed skepticism about the statute (Richey, 12/15).

Bloomberg: Obama Administration, States Take Health-Care Reform Fight to Florida
The Obama administration's defense of its health care reform shifts to Florida today, three days after a judge in Virginia ruled part of the new law unconstitutional (Harris, 12/16).

Health News Florida: What Will Fla. Judge Do?
Attorneys for the Obama administration and the law's opponents will appear in a Pensacola courtroom and seek to convince [Senior U.S. District Judge Roger] Vinson to rule in their favor about whether the landmark law is constitutional (Saunders, 12/15).

ABC News: Health Care Battle Moves To Florida
A federal judge in Florida today will begin hearing oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the new health care law and the expansion of Medicaid. The proceedings begin just days after a Virginia judge dealt a resounding blow to the Obama administration. He ruled that the federal government is overstepping its constitutional boundaries by requiring Americans to carry health insurance by 2014 (Khan, 12/16).

The Associated Press: Courts May Not Get Last Word In Health Care Fight
A Virginia federal judge ruled this week that the law's key requirement for individuals to carry health insurance is unconstitutional. But even if the Supreme Court ultimately agrees, Obama has a readily available Plan B. The administration could borrow a strategy that Medicare has used successfully for decades (Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/16).

The Hill: Reform Law Opponent Files Brief In Appeals Court
A federal court in Michigan that upheld the health care reform law's individual mandate in October wrongly interpreted the Constitution's commerce clause, plaintiffs said in an appellate court brief filed Wednesday afternoon. The Thomas More Law Center challenged the constitutionality of the reform law's requirement that individuals purchase insurance at the risk of penalty starting in 2014. In October, U.S. District Court Judge George Caram Steeh, a former Clinton appointee, became the first judge to uphold the individual mandate (Millman, 12/15).

The New York Times: Health Suits Stir Concerns On Court Partisanship
With a loose web of conservative plaintiffs leading the charge, and judicial rulings breaking thus far along ideological lines, the drive to scuttle the Obama health care law is once again highlighting the role of partisanship in America's courts (Sack, 12/15).

NPR: Health Care Rulings Reignite Judicial Bias Debate
Earlier this week, Virginia's Henry Hudson became the first judge to overturn part of the Obama administration's signature health care law (Johnson, 12/16).

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