[A federal judge in Florida, named] Vinson dismissed the key provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act– the so-called “individual mandate” requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face stiff penalties.
“I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system,” wrote Vinson.
“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications,” Vinson wrote, adding, “At a time when there is virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
The Justice Department declared its intentions to appeal the ruling to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.