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Judge rules against insurance mandate

A federal judge has ruled that a clause in the US healthcare reform bill that requires Americans to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional

A federal judge has ruled that a clause in the US healthcare reform bill that requires Americans to purchase healthcare insurance or be fined is unconstitutional.

Judge Henry Hudson backed the state of Virginia's argument that the insurance requirement exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. He is the first judge to rule against the law since it was passed in March.

The US Justice Department, which is defending the statute, is considering an appeal. Hudson has declined the plaintiff, Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli's request to freeze implementation of the legislation while the Supreme Court considers the case.

The requirement is not due to take effect until 2014. If ruled unconstitutional, related reforms could also fail.

The healthcare reform law is seen by some as one of Barack Obama's biggest achievements. Two other judges have rejected previous challenges to the law.

14th December 2010

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