The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that the health care reform law’s requirement that nearly all Americans buy insurance is unconstitutional, a striking blow to the legislation that increases the odds the Supreme Court will choose to review the law.
The panel partially upheld a ruling issued in January by Judge Roger Vinson, who struck down the entire health reform law. However, the 11th Circuit said that the rest of the legislation can stand even if the mandate is unconstitutional.
The panel also said that the law’s expansion of Medicaid is constitutional, ruling against the states.
The Department of Justice won’t say yet whether it will appeal to the Supreme Court or ask the entire 11th Circuit to review the decision.
The majority of the panel said they couldn’t uphold the mandate because there would be no limit to Congress’s powers if they did. Opponents of the law have frequently argued that if Congress can require people to buy insurance, they can force people to do anything else, such as buy broccoli or a gym membership for their health benefits. Vinson cited this broccoli argument in his sweeping ruling striking down the entire law.