Just weeks ago a significant ruling with national implications came out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Judge Henry Hudson became the first judge to rule that Section 1501, the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision, which is commonly referred to as the "individual mandate," of the new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is unconstitutional.
Almost immediately after this misguided legislation was passed by the Congress in March of this year, states Attorneys General began filing lawsuits against the federal government. The health care reform law included $17 billion in new taxes on Americans who do not purchase health insurance. Over a dozen states, including Virginia, filed suit claiming that this individual insurance mandate is unconstitutional. Never before in the history of our country has a tax been levied on individual Americans by their government with the purpose of forcing them to do something the government wants them to do. I applaud all of these states for taking action and I have cosponsored legislation which would prohibit funding for the implementation or enforcement of the individual health insurance mandate. All Americans should be worried anytime the federal government tries to trample on or ignore our Constitution and in fact a recent CBS news poll shows that 62 percent of Americans believe that lawmakers should continue to challenge the government takeover of health care.
That is precisely why the recent ruling in the Virginia case is such welcome news. It marks a key first step toward the Supreme Court hearing the case against the individual mandate. Last week, I joined a number of other Members of Congress in sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Justice Department to request that the Supreme Court take this issue up in a timely manner in lieu of a long, drawn out appeals process. Our citizens and states alike will be greatly affected by this case and deserve certainty.
While this is only one of the most troubling provisions of the new health care reform law there are a whole host of others. That is why I have cosponsored several bills that would repeal this new law in its entirety. Rather than dictating medical decisions from Washington, we should be concentrating our efforts on making premiums more affordable for all Americans and giving them the freedom to choose the plan that best fits their needs.
We need a positive, patient-centered strategy that puts patients, families and doctors, not Washington bureaucrats, in control of personal health care decisions. While we can all agree that our current health care system needs to be reformed, the new health care law was not the right way to do it which is why we must repeal it and replace it with commonsense measures that expand access and choices while lowering costs.