The tally's now two for and two against in court rulings on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, signed by President Barack Obama in March.
If you thought the ruling by a U.S. District Court judge in Virginia in December was sweeping, take a look at this latest ruling coming from a federal judge in Florida.
The Virginia judge ruled that it is unconstitutional to require individuals, beginning in 2014, to carry minimum health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty. The Florida judge went further, saying on Monday that because this "individual mandate" is central to the law, the whole thing is unconstitutional.
Both the Virginia and Florida judges rely on the notion that requiring people to buy health insurance (with help for those who can't afford it) or pay a tax to recoup some of the shifted costs impermissibly regulates inactivity.
Really? If you do not have health insurance but get sick and end up in an emergency room, you get treatment whether you can pay or not – and the cost gets passed on to insured customers as higher insurance premiums. Is that activity? You bet. Costly activity.
As California Attorney General Kamala Harris wrote in a brief supporting the law, 8 million Californians (nearly a quarter of those under age 65) are uninsured, and their care comes at a huge cost to the state at a time the state is in a fiscal crisis.
Yet the Virginia and Florida judges believe the law is not proper because, as the Florida judge wrote, it "cannot be reconciled with a limited government of enumerated powers." So there you have it. Their logic would forbid Congress from passing a full range of requirements – from minimum wages to flood insurance to anti-pollution devices, you name it.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.miamiherald.com.