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House of Representatives Votes to Repeal the Health Insurance Mandate

by Leah Greene, JD, LLM on January 20th, 2011

The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to repeal the health insurance mandate, often referred to as Obamacare, which was passed last March. Many will remember from their high school civics class that the Senate must pass a similar bill with the President’s signature for the repeal to be effective. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – Nev.) has promised to block the bill. Further, due to the Democratic majority in the Senate, it is almost certain the repeal will not pass in that chamber. President Obama, obviously, has promised to veto it. Although Congress can override a veto by a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, it is unlikely supporters of the repeal will succeed in this respect. Most commentators agree the repeal in the House was primarily symbolic. As a result, no one expects the health insurance mandate to be repealed, as we predicted. It is likely the House will attempt to modify certain provisions of the mandate.

There is a new development regarding the judicial challenge to the health insurance mandate. Six more states have joined Florida’s lawsuit (in which Texas is a party) which challenges the constitutionality of the health care reform bill: Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This means more than half of the states (27 out of 50, which includes Virginia’s separate lawsuit) are challenging the health insurance mandate. The Florida lawsuit involves similar issues to the lawsuit in Virginia, in which portions of the health insurance mandate were ruled unconstitutional. We are monitoring the Florida lawsuit and will provide an update regarding any significant developments.

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From → Health Law