White House confident about healthcare law

Dec. 13, 2010 at 3:29 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The Obama administration disagrees with a federal judge's ruling that a key part of the healthcare law is unconstitutional, a White House official said Monday.

"Challenges like this are nothing new," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said during his daily media briefing. "We're confident that it is constitutional."

He said at least 20 other cases challenging the healthcare law were working their way through the courts and two other courts held the provision constitutional.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson ruled a provision of the law requiring all Americans to have at least minimum healthcare insurance or else be fined exceeded congressional authority. Hudson upheld other provisions of the healthcare law, and said he would not hold up the implementation of the law while various challenges make their way through the courts.

Much of the law, including the provision Hudson said was unconstitutional, aren't effective until 2014.

The judge had telegraphed his views about the healthcare law earlier, Gibbs noted, so "I don't think the decision today was a surprise to anybody."

Gibbs avoided answering questions about whether politics was playing into the ruling, saying, "judges make their decisions on different points of reasoning. Our belief is that the healthcare act will go forward and is constitutional."

He said the provision in question "allows us to address lingering discrimination" against people with pre-existing conditions and addresses who pays for people without healthcare insurance but need care.

"Yes, there are a number of different viewpoints," Gibbs said. "But I think after all of the legal wrangling is said and done, this is something that will be" held constitutional.

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