Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Aug 12 2011

OLYMPIA – The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta today issued a 2-1 opinion, ruling the federal government may not force individuals to purchase government-approved health insurance in the private marketplace.

The ruling upholds in part a decision by Florida Judge Roger Vinson earlier this year declaring the provision of the federal Affordable Care Act, requiring all Americans to have or purchase a government-approved health insurance policy in the private market, unconstitutional.

In the 304-page decision, the majority differed with Vinson on the issue of whether the entire act should be nullified, ruling instead that the so-called “individual mandate” could be struck down without declaring the entire act unconstitutional.

“Today the Court affirmed what we’ve said from the beginning of this case: that Congress does not have the constitutional authority to force Americans to ‘purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, from the time they are born until the time they die,’” McKenna said. “The Court also agrees that the individual mandate can, and in fact must, be removed from the health care bill without canceling the parts of the law that will benefit the people of our state. Health care reform is vitally important to all of us and can be achieved without violating the Constitution – the document that guarantees our individual liberties and makes ours the freest, most prosperous country in world.”

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More information

The 11th Circuit Court decision may be found at http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/courts/ca11/201111021.pdf

Contacts:
Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725