KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Vinson Issues Stay Of His Earlier Health Law Ruling

The Associated Press / The Washington Post: "A federal judge who declared President Barack Obama's health care overhaul unconstitutional ruled Thursday that states must continue implementing it while the case makes its way through the courts. ... In Thursday's ruling, Vinson admonished the administration for being slow to appeal and for asking him to clarify his ruling instead of filing a motion to put it on hold. Still, he said, it is in the nation's best interest for states to continue following the law for now.The case is one of several challenges to the health care law, which is almost certain to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court" (Nelson, 3/3).

Politico: "U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled Thursday that implementation of the health law can proceed - but he gave the Obama administration just seven days to file an appeal. Vinson issued a stay of his own Jan. 31 ruling that declared the entire health care reform law unconstitutional. He chastised the government for not interpreting that ruling as an immediate injunction to stop implementing the new law. But in a twist, he said he interpreted the Justice Department's request for clarity as a motion to stay, which he granted. … Vinson criticized the Justice Department for not following normal procedure and requesting a stay" (Haberkorn, 3/3).

The Wall Street Journal: "Judge Vinson, considering a challenge to the health-care overhaul by a group of 26 states, ruled on Jan. 31 that the law must be declared void. He ruled the law's requirement that individuals carry health coverage or pay a penalty is unconstitutional. The Obama administration and some states disagreed about whether Judge Vinson's decision meant that implementation of the law must stop while the case continues." Vinson criticized the government's legal tactics, but "said he would postpone the effect of the original ruling while the government appealed. However, he said the Obama administration must file its appeal within seven days and seek expedited review at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta" (Kendall, 3/3).

Fox News: Judge Vinson issues his originally decision Jan. 31, finding "that the individual mandate in the new law is unconstitutional, and since it is basically the entire linchpin of the law, he declared the remainder of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act void. … "The administration went back to Vinson to ask for clarification. ... Vinson on Wednesday responded to the request by granting their motion -- and ordering the government to go either to the appellate court or immediately to the Supreme Court. 'Almost everyone agrees that the constitutionality of the act is an issue that will ultimately have to be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. It is very important to everyone in this country that this case move forward ... as soon as practically possible,' Vinson said." 
(Bream, 3/3).

Kaiser Health News has an updated guide to 22 of the legal challenges to the law: Scoreboard: Tracking Health Law Court Challenges (Vaida and Eisenhower, 3/3).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.