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Federal Health Care Will Be Treated As Being In Place in Alaska
Florida Judge issues stay of ruling that Affordable Care Act is Unconstitutional


March 03, 2011

(SitNews) - Today, the Florida federal court judge Roger Vinson issued a 'stay' upon his ruling that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.  The legal effect of the stay is to remove any legal block to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Commenting on U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson’s clarification of his January 31st ruling that struck down the entire federal health care reform law, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell said, “I appreciate and respect Judge Vinson’s careful consideration of this issue, which affects all Americans. Judge Vinson’s clarification today made clear that he believes the law is unconstitutional and that his original ruling was an injunction and should have halted the federal government’s implementation."

“Now Judge Vinson has issued a stay, which will be lifted in seven days should the Obama administration not pursue an appeal. What this means for Alaska is that our administration will treat the federal health care law as being in place, as we are directed by the judge in the lawsuit to which our state was a party," said Parnell.

Quoting a news release from Senator Hollis French, the stay, in conjunction with the legal analysis done this week by Dennis Bailey of the Legislative Legal division, leaves Governor Parnell with no choice but to comply with the health care reform law passed by Congress last year.

"This is a good day for Alaska," said Senator Hollis French a member of the Alaska legislature, who requested the legal analysis done by Bailey.  "The Governor can no longer evade the issue.  115,000 Alaskans do not have health insurance.  I look forward to working with the Governor to help put the federal law in place that will help these Alaskans find a policy that works for them."

Governor Parnell said, “Going forward, Alaska will make decisions on a case-by-case basis whether the state will undertake with our own money or with federal money how to implement the provisions of the law. My sole responsibility is to act in Alaska’s best interests and we will do so. I continue to strongly prefer to use state resources for state-based health care solutions to increase access and improve affordability, rather than become more entangled."

Parnell said he particularly appreciates Judge Vinson's request that appeals be fast-tracked so our states can move forward with certainty.

Five judges have weighed in on the Affordable Care Act.  Other than the Florida judge, three have found the law constitutional, and one has ruled against the individual mandate alone.  No Alaska court has taken up the question.  Experts predict that the case is headed for the United States Supreme Court, in a process that could take two or three years.

This week, Alaska Legislative Counsel Dennis Bailey wrote in a five page legal memorandum (click here) that “a decision of a federal district court judge is not binding precedent in… a different judicial district.”  Bailey concludes his analysis by writing that “it is implausible that the decision of the federal court in Florida would have a binding precedential or binding effect on the state when appellate review has not been exhausted.”  


Source of News:

Office of Governor Sean Parnell

Office of Sen. Hollis French

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Ketchikan, Alaska