After the passage of the new health care legislation, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Catholic, filed suit, questioning the constitutionality of the federal government requiring its citizens to buy health insurance. Yesterday, U. S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson (no relation) ruled that:
“The mandate on individuals in President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation goes beyond Congress’s powers to regulate interstate commerce.” Hudson severed the issue of the mandate, which is set to become effective in 2014, and didn’t address other provisions such as expanding Medicaid.
Cuccinelli has requested that the Justice Department allow the case to pass through to the Supreme Court without review by a Federal Appeals Court, but a spokesman at Justice has declined comment.
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It remains to be seen how the USCCB will respond to this decision. The bishops have long supported a “universal” health care system, though they have not specified that it be underwritten by the federal government.
The bishops objected to the abortion coverage in the health care legislation but supported the concept of the federal government requiring, under threat of legal punishment, every citizen to buy health insurance.
The USCCB, as far as I know, never responded to issues about the constitutionality of the health care bill. This is not surprising, since much of the public policy advocated by the Conference seems to have little concern for subsidarity or limiting the size of the federal goverment.
This might be a good time for those at the Conference who handle this issue to start imagining another approach to achieving the goal of universal health care without violating either the Constitution or the Church’s own commitment to subsidiarity.