Appeals court upholds health reform’s ‘individual mandate’

A Cincinnati appeals court Wednesday ruled in favor of healthcare reform’s “individual mandate” for Americans to buy health insurance, declaring that the law is constitutional despite heavy contention from its opponents.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals became the first appellate court to rule on the health reform law, positioning the case closer to a likely appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a conservative who joined the majority ruling, said the requirement to purchase health insurance is within the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. “Not every intrusive law is an unconstitutionally intrusive law,” Sutton wrote.

James Graham, the dissenting judge, said upholding the law would eventually lead to more personal intrusions by the federal government.

“If the exercise of power is allowed and the mandate upheld, it is difficult to see what the limits on Congress’s Commerce Clause authority would be,” Graham wrote. “What aspect of human activity would escape federal power?”

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