Court Green Lights FL HCR Challenge

October 14, 2010 ( – A federal judge ruled Thursday that parts of a legal challenge to the health-care reform law by 20 states can move forward.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled it still needs to be decided whether the plan violates the Constitution by requiring individuals to have health insurance or be penalized, and by overburdening the states by expanding their Medicaid programs.

Vinson set a hearing for December 16, according to the news report.

Vinson’s ruling comes a week after U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh in Detroit said the mandate to get insurance by 2014 and the financial penalty for skipping coverage are legal (see Judge Declares HCR Law Constitutional). There is also a lawsuit pending in Virginia. A federal judge there has allowed the lawsuit to continue, ruling the overhaul raises complex constitutional issues.

The other states involved in the lawsuit Vinson is hearing are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Vinson’s order in the Florida case is here.