Democrats and Republicans are at fierce odds over the health care bill, but they should agree with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson's call for the Supreme Court to decide whether the provision requiring purchase of health insurance is constitutional -- sooner than later.
Let's have a decision that counts. So far we have dueling rulings that don't settle the issue.
Federal judges in Michigan and Virginia have ruled that mandatory purchase -- which insurance companies say is necessary to bankroll other provisions of the health care act passed last March -- is constitutional.
Another federal judge in Virginia and one in Florida have ruled that mandatory purchase is unconstitutional -- and the Florida judge, Roger Vinson, found that his ruling invalidated the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. His Virginia colleague didn't go that far.
If you're scoring at home, it's 2-2. That doesn't count cases entirely or partially dismissed.
Twenty-six states have sued the federal government over the mandatory purchase provision. Alaska is among them. Gov. Sean Parnell lauded the Florida decision and has refused to use federal money to prepare an insurance pool from which uninsured Alaskans could make their purchases. That decision seems more political than practical. If the provision passes constitutional muster, it would take effect in 2014. Even if you're opposed, it makes more sense to prepare for the possibility that the law will take effect as is.
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