Report: Appellate court strikes down insurance mandate in health law

NEW YORK—The healthcare-reform law took a hit Friday when a federal court in Atlanta ruled one of its key provisions unconstitutional, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that in a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit found the law's mandate for individuals to buy health insurance or face penalties to violate the Constitution because it represented a "wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority." Judges Frank Hull, a Clinton administration appointee, and Joel Dubina, appointed by George H.W. Bush, wrote the 207-page opinion.

Twenty-six mostly Republican governors and attorneys general, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and two individuals had filed the suit. The appeals court upheld the portion of an earlier ruling by U.S. district judge Roger Vinson of Florida that overturned the insurance mandate, but kept the rest of law. Vinson had ruled the entire law unconstitutional.