Appeals Court Finds Health Insurance Mandate Unconstitutional

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President Obama at health care event
President Obama at health care event
Source: (accessed Aug. 26, 2011)

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled (2-1) that the insurance mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is unconstitutional. Friday’s ruling by the Atlanta court is the first appellate review to find the insurance mandate unconstitutional.

The requirement for Americans to purchase health insurance is a major provision of the Mar. 2010 health care overhaul championed by President Obama. The court upheld the constitutionality of the rest of the law, but said “what Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die.”

According to research by, courts have found PPACA constitutional in four cases and unconstitutional twice. Out of 24 lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Federal health care laws, 21 have challenged the requirement that individuals must purchase health insurance.

The concept of the individual health insurance mandate originated in 1989 at the conservative Heritage Foundation. In 1993, Republicans twice introduced health care bills that contained an individual health insurance mandate. The individual mandate did not become law until President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), sometimes referred to as “Obamacare,” into law on Mar. 23, 2010.

Source: Michael Cooper, “Health Law Is Dealt Blow by a Court on Mandate,”, Aug. 12, 2011