Ruling may spur Mass. healthcare law suit

March 30, 2012 at 1:52 PM

BOSTON, March 30 (UPI) -- A U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the 2-year-old healthcare reform law could spur a challenge to the Massachusetts law that inspired it, a law professor said.

A key legal question in the case against the federal Affordable Care Act concerns the constitutionality of its requirement that nearly all Americans obtain health insurance, which is based on Massachusetts law that requires such an individual mandate, The Boston Globe reported Friday.

State lawmakers passed Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's healthcare plan in 2006 when he was governor of the state.

"Many [challengers of the federal law] believe that state and federal mandates would be unconstitutional," said Jeffrey Rosen, a George Washington University law professor.

While the challenges focuses on the federal mandate, Rosen said he has "no doubt" that the state mandate would be challenged if the federal requirement is struck down.

Massachusetts healthcare executives said they don't see any problems for the state law, even if the Supreme Court determines the federal law unconstitutional.

"What I've told my team is that no matter what happens at the Supreme Court, and whether or not President Obama is re-elected, healthcare reform will continue in Massachusetts," said Kate Walsh, chief executive of Boston Medical Center. "What might happen, though, is that the state would have fewer funds to do the work."

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley said no one has seriously challenged Massachusetts' healthcare law in the six years since its enactment.

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