WASHINGTON – Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the following statement on today’s ruling by Florida U.S. District Court judge Roger Vinson on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act:
“Since the Affordable Care Act passed, opponents of reform have filed more than 20 different legal challenges in an attempt to derail important new protections and health care benefits for Americans. Judges across the country have already dismissed 12 of these cases, and two federal judges have ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional.
“Although I am pleased he did not move to halt the implementation of the law, Judge Vinson is wrong in his assessment of the individual mandate. When people seek medical care without health insurance and don’t pay for it, they aren’t ‘opting out’ of the health care market. Instead, it adds more than $1,000 per year to the premiums of American families who act responsibly by having coverage. This clearly affects interstate commerce and is thus within Congress’ power to regulate.
“Fortunately, Judge Vinson’s will not be the final word on this issue – I am confident that the appellate courts and the Supreme Court will find the Affordable Care Act constitutional, ensuring that Americans keep crucial new protections against the unfair practices of insurance companies.”