Blow for US health laws

City A.M. Reporter
A KEY part of US President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare law was declared
unconstitutional yesterday, in the first major setback on an issue that will likely end up at the Supreme Court.

District judge Henry Hudson backed the state of Virginia’s argument that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to start buying health insurance in 2014 or face a fine, adding that the provisions invite an “unbridled exercise of federal police powers”.

But he declined to invalidate the entire healthcare law, a small victory for Obama, whose administration will appeal the decision.

Health insurers’ stock prices initially rose on the ruling before later tapering off as investors saw more uncertainty as the case proceeds. The ruling signalled that changes to the bill rather than a full overhaul are more realistic.