A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a controversial requirement for Americans to purchase health insurance, becoming the sixth appeals court to rule on challenges to President Obama’s health care law that are likely headed to the Supreme Court next year.
In a split opinion, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the centerpiece of the health care law — a mandate for individuals to buy health insurance or pay a fine — was an encroachment on individual liberty, but no more so than requiring businesses to serve all customers regardless of race.
“The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute, and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems, no matter how local — or seemingly passive — their individual origins,” wrote Judge Laurence H. Silberman.
While most rulings over the Affordable Care Act have split down party lines, with Republican-appointed judges generally opposing the individual mandate and Democrat-appointed judges generally favoring it, Judge Silberman was appointed by President Reagan. Concurring Judge Harry T. Edwards was appointed by President Carter.
Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, appointed by President George W. Bush, dissented, saying the court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the case...