Health care law challenged

To a three judge federal appeals panel in Atlanta

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - On March 23rd, 2010 President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.

But not long after the applause died… the court challenges began. Florida's then Attorney General Bill McCollum led the way, backed by 25 other states.

"We think just the shear numbers, plus the National Federation Independent business and couple of individuals gives this lawsuit a lot of weight," he said at the time.

In December of last year a federal judge ruled in favor of Florida, calling at least part of the new health care law, unconstitutional.

The decision was appealed, and the reins handed to Florida's new Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Wednesday Bondi was in Atlanta fighting the appeal. Now matter how the judge rules, the case is expected to head to the US Supreme Court.

And while the court battle rages on, the state is turning down federal cash to implement the new law. So far the state has turned its back on 19 million dollars.

"We are not going to spend a lot of time and money getting ready to implement that until we know exactly what is going to happen," said Florida Governor Rick Scott in February.

Brad Ashwell, a consumer advocate with Florida Public Interest Research Group, calls it unwise. "This is the law until it's ruled unconstitutional. Many of the insurers are abiding by it. So it's troubling."

A ruling isn't expected for months… and then it will take even more time for the US Supreme Court to take up the case.

Attorney General Pam Bondi responded to the court hearing Wednesday afternoon with this statement:

"I am encouraged by the judges' response to our arguments that the health care law's Medicaid expansion unconstitutionally coerces the states by forcing them to assume billions in uncompensated Medicaid costs. The health care law vastly exceeds Congress's legitimate authority. "I hope for a prompt decision from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and look forward to a final resolution by the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as possible."
 

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