Capitol Hill

The battle continues

The massive health care overhaul bill President Obama signed in March is now law. However, the battle regarding our health care system's future appears to be far from over. Now that federal legislation has been enacted, many of the law's opponents have shifted their efforts to the courts, state legislatures and 2010 midterm elections. The outcomes of numerous challenges in these venues could have far-reaching implications for implementation of the law and health care policy.

State-level challenges

Within weeks of the law's passage, Florida and 20 other states filed a lawsuit contending a key component of the law is unconstitutional. The lawsuit argues Congress lacks the authority to require individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty, which the law mandates beginning in 2014. The lawsuit also argues the law infringes on states' rights by requiring states to extend coverage to low-income residents without providing necessary resources.

A decision in this case could come late this year or in 2011. Many legal experts believe the chance of this lawsuit being upheld is slim, but even a partial verdict in favor of the plaintiffs could undermine key components of the health care law.

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