Government Files Motion to Clarify
By Hadley Heath
Well, the federal government is confused. After Judge Vinson's ruling in the Florida case (that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and unseverable from the rest of the law), the defendants have filed a "Motion to Clarify" in which they ask Judge Vinson to more clearly state the scope of his ruling.
In fact, according to the AP, some states have cited Vinson's ruling and are refusing to implement ObamaCare:
For example, earlier Thursday in Alaska, Gov. Sean Parnell said he would not implement the new law because Vinson ruled it was unconstitutional.
"The state of Alaska will not pursue unlawful activity to implement a federal health care regime that has been declared unconstitutional by a federal court," Parnell told the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, to applause.
Parnell said the state would pursue lawful, market-based solutions of its own. That includes planning for a health insurance exchange, meant to offer a choice of health plans, without the "shiny but poisonous apple" of federal dollars and mandates "that create federal dependency and control."
A spokeswoman for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said Vinson's ruling indeed does mean the states need not move forward with the health overhaul.
Vinson "clearly stated" that the order equaled an injunction, Jennifer Meale said in an e-mailed statement. An injunction legally halts or forbids something.
But the federal government needs more clarification. Although the individual mandate does not take effect until 2014, the defendants are concerned that other parts of the law - "programs currently in effect, duties currently in force, taxes currently being collected, and tax credits that may be owed at this time or in the near future" - will be disrupted because of Vinson's ruling.
Karen Harned from the National Federation of Independent Business (a plaintiff in the Florida case) noted:
The government's claim of uncertainty only underscores that this case must proceed quickly to the 11th Circuit and then ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. Until the U.S. Supreme Court rules, small business owners and all Americans will be left questioning whether or not this law will stand. The best remedy to alleviate that uncertainty is for the appeal to move forward as quickly as possible.
Please stay tuned to HealthCareLawsuits.org for developments in this case.