The ultimate fate of the federal mandate that every American carry health insurance by 2014 will be decided by the US Supreme Court, legal experts say. The comments came after a September 12 decision by a federal judge in Harrisburg that the mandate portion of the 2010 federal health care law is unconstitutional.
“There have been a number of decisions in the lower courts regarding the mandate clause,” said Cliff Reiders, a Williamsport attorney who specializes in health care law. “Ultimately, this ends up at the Supreme Court and there it will come down to how Kennedy (Justice Anthony Kennedy) and Scalia (Justice Antonin Scalia) decide.”
In Harrisburg, federal Judge Christopher C. Conner wrote that the mandate violates the Constitution‟s Constitution's commerce clause.
" The power to regulate interstate commerce”, Conner wrote, “does not include the power to dictate a lifetime of buying health insurance. Left standing, such a requirement would effectively sanction Congress's exercise of police power.”
The earliest the high court could hear a health care case is early 2012.