Judge rules that health care reform is constitutional — could effect Colorado case

Thursday, a federal judge in Michigan became the first to rule on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care reform package. Judge George C. Steeh ruled that requiring individuals to buy health insurance is constitutional.

The judge said that everyone participates in the health care system and that people who chose not to buy health care insurance were effectively trying to shift their burden on to others who do buy insurance. Beginning in 2014, The Health Care Reform Act requires most Americans to have health insurance.

The law is being challenged in Colorado as well, where Attorney General John Suthers has also filed suit to exempt Colorado from some aspects of the Act. He joined several other state’s attorneys general in filing a suit based on some of the same principles at play in the Michigan suit.

Republican Suthers is being challenged by Democrat Stan Garnett, who supports health care reform and says he got in the race largely as a response to Sutter’s suit to block health reform. He called the suit “a misuse of power.”

Legal experts say this first ruling will likely provide precedent as judges rule in other cases, like Colorado’s.

Also in Colorado, Amendment 63 seeks to exempt the state from some aspects of the Act, especially those requiring all residents to have health care insurance.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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