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A federal judge on Thursday heard opening arguments in Virginia’s lawsuit against the federal government over the high-profile health care law that took effect in March.
Judge Henry E. Hudson said he would likely issue a ruling within 30 days.
The federal government has moved to dismiss the suit brought forth by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on the grounds that it has the authority to enforce the law under the Commerce Clause in the Constitution.
Ian Gershengorn, a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, said health insurance is different from other products because everyone needs medical care at some point. Even a healthy person can get hit by a bus, and “in this country we don’t allow a person to die at the emergency room door,” he said.
But Cuccinelli has maintained the federal government overstepped its bounds in mandating that people buy health insurance.
“The government can’t draft an unwilling citizen into commerce just so it can regulate him under the Commerce Clause,” E. Duncan Getchell,Jr., solicitor general of Virginia, argued Thursday.