Ohio judge allows third healthcare reform challenge to go forward

A federal judge in Ohio has ruled a lawsuit against the healthcare reform can proceed, marking at least the third challenge to get a green light. Two similar lawsuits have been dismissed.

Judge David Dowd of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio issued a split ruling on Monday, dismissing three claims brought by the conservative U.S. Citizens Association but allowing one to move forward. Dowd agreed to hear arguments that the law's individual mandate — the requirement that people buy insurance — violates the Constitution's commerce clause.

The three rejected claims were that the law violates:

  • Plaintiffs' freedom of association guaranteed by the First and Fifth amendments;
  • The due process clause of the Fifth Amendment; and
  • Plaintiffs' right to privacy.

Dowd acknowledged however that his was unlikely to be the final word.

"It is apparent to the undersigned that the controversy ignited by the passage of the legislation at issue in this case will eventually require a decision by the Supreme Court after the above-described litigation works its way through the various circuit courts," Dowd wrote. "Against that background, this Court does not intend to write a lengthy opinion with respect to the defendants' motion to dismiss because the Court's decision will, in all likelihood, be without relevance by the time this case reaches the Supreme Court."