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Wednesday
Feb022011

Health Care Legal Challenges: What's Next?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) - In the aftermath of US District Court Judge Roger Vinson's ruling on Monday that struck down the entire Affordable Care Act, questions are being raised about whether the law should continue to be implemented in any of the 26 States that were parties to the lawsuit.

While the judge chose not to issue an injunction forcing the federal government to stop implementation, he wrote that his opinion was the "functional equivalent" of such an order. The Obama administration argues that because the Judge did not enjoin the law, it remains the law of the land for all states.

“The decision issued on Monday is one district court decision, and we believe it to be very wrong,” Deputy Senior Advisor Stephanie Cutter wrote in a blog posted on the White House’s website.  “Implementation will continue.”

But officials in some states that are a party to the lawsuit disagree. A spokesperson for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “We are continuing to evaluate the order. The judge clearly stated that the declaratory relief is tantamount to an injunction - this should be respected by the federal government.”

J. B. Van Hollen, Wisconsin’s Attorney General, told the St. Petersburg Times, "For Wisconsin, the federal health care law is dead — unless and until it is revived by an appellate court. Effectively, Wisconsin was relieved of any obligations or duties that were created under terms of the federal health care law."

Critics of the ruling say it is not only wrong, but has sent a confusing message regarding the law’s implementation. Meanwhile, attention is turning to the appellate courts that will be the next judges to rule on the constitutionality of the law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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