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Judge sides with states that challenged health care law

Judge sides with states that challenged health care law

CREATED Jun 30, 2011

Web Producer: Brian Pryor

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - There's a court victory today for the 26 states that have challenged the Obama administration's health care overhaul.

A federal judge in Florida is declaring the law unconstitutional, saying people can't be required to buy health insurance. His ruling goes a step further than a previous court ruling against the law -- in that it says the whole thing is unconstitutional if the insurance requirement doesn't hold up.

The Supreme Court is likely to have the final say. Two other federal judges have already upheld the law. The issue is whether the government is reaching beyond its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. Judge Roger Vinson says it is. He says if the government can make people buy health insurance, it could also regulate food the same way.

Obama administration attorneys had argued that the health care system was part of the interstate commerce system. They also said the government can penalize Americans who decide not to purchase health insurance because all Americans are consumers of medical care.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)