Appeals court dismisses Virginia health care challenge

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The first round went to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, but this time it was the federal government who came out on top. A federal appeals court in Richmond today dismissed Virginia's suit, challenging health care reform. The panel ruled the commonwealth was not in a position to challenge the law.

Think of it like this...Virginia is not one person. It is a group of people, and the part of the law Ken Cuccinelli took exception was the individual mandate that forces individuals to buy health insurance.

The three judges unanimously agreed that because Virginia is one big state, instead of one specific individual, that they did not have the right to challenge the law.

The fourth circuit never even got into the arguments raised by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli about the constitutional merits of the Health Care Reform Law.

Instead the panel decided that Virginia had no jurisdiction to even bring the case. A lower court heard a similar argument and disagreed, allowing the case to move forward. But despite the big win for the feds, most agree the issue is not decided yet.

"This is going to end up getting decided by the Supreme Court and frankly sooner rather than later. I think the thing about the health care law is that there are some good things and some things we ought to change," said Senator Mark Warner (D) Virginia.

"The individual mandate is something that applies to individuals so it is enforceable against them. Not against Virginia, so there were questions about jurisdiction from the get go," said Professor Kevin Walsh with the University of Richmond School of Law.

Republicans are criticizing the ruling, but saying they aren't surprised, because all three judges writing the opinion are appointees of democratic presidents.

They also dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by Liberty University.

More than 30 lawsuits have been filed across the country regarding the law.

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