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Court upholds federal health care law

Circuits split, health law may be headed for Supreme Court

The 4th Circuit rejected two challenges to the federal health care overhaul, which the Obama administration passed last year. In its decision yesterday, the court said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli lacked legal standing to challenge the law. The ruling threw out a lower court’s 2010 decision that found the law unconstitutional.

The issues Cuccinelli challenged centered on the part of the law the that required all Americans to carry health insurance or, starting in 2014, pay a fee. Cuccinelli argued he had legal standing to challenge the law because, shortly after Obama signed the health care bill into law, Virginia had created its own law saying its residents should not be required to carry health insurance.

The three-judge panel yesterday said that wasn’t enough, further adding that Cuccinelli hadn’t shown a direct burden to Virginia as a result of the federal health care law.

Several other courts have heard similar suits, and decisions have been split. The Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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