The 11th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Friday, August 12 that Congress overstepped its constitutional powers by requiring individuals and businesses to buy health insurance or face tax penalties. Utah was one of the 13 original states to file a lawsuit challenging the law on March 23, 2010. The bill sited the powers of the Commerce Clause to create a mandate effective in 2014 that would require all citizens to have a health care plan.Twenty-five other states joined Utah in the lawsuit and head litigator for the State of Utah, Chief Deputy Attorney General over civil matters John Swallow, says the verdict is monumental.”It is a case we will read about for a long time because it is so new territory,” Swallow says. “We have never ever had Congress try to force Americans to buy something under the Commerce Clause before. They had the power to regulate commerce between the states but they don’t have the right to force Americans into the stream of commerce. “We felt that strongly when we filed the case in March of 2010. The district court sided with us, the Court of Appeals now has sided with us and now it is up to the Supreme Court, hopefully, to clean it up and carry it home with us and hopefully we’ll win the next step.”Swallow says this is a monumental win not only for American citizens but for the states as well.”This Constitution is being weakened all the time and if states don’t stand up and fight to defend state’s rights, who will? Congress has shown that they won’t stand up and defend state’s rights. “We have a responsibility in this state, and in other states, to stand up to an overreaching Congress and stand for our rights and defend those rights. Fortunately, we have wise and seasoned judges who are siding with the states, looking at the plain intent of the Constitution and saying, ‘Congress, you can’t go that far.'”Swallow says while the bill did have its merits, the Constitutional and economic impacts outweigh any benefits it would have created.”There are great things about the bill. Having the age of dependents who are eligible for insurance under their parent’s policies increased to age 26 I think is a big thing. The pre-existing conditions issue is a marvelous thing for people because many people have been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. But the costs for that is off the charts. “So the question is how do you pay for that? There is not a money tree behind the capitol where you pluck down money and pay for these bills. It comes from somewhere. You know where it comes from? It comes from taxpayers and it comes from businesses. Businesses pass the costs on to consumers through higher prices. “So it really comes from the pocket book of every single American. These great benefits are shared by everyone. So when Congress passes a bill like this they’ve got to understand the cost to the American consumer, the cost on the economy and they’ve got to follow the Constitution.”President Barack Obama believes in the bill and the lawsuit will likely be on the U.S. Supreme Court docket as early as Spring 2012.
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