Va. Wins First Round in Fight Over Health Care Reform

State's lawsuit challenging reform will continue

Virginia's lawsuit over the new federal health care reform will go to court.

A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The state claims that Congress exceeded its authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause by requiring citizens to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation this year exempting state residents from the coverage mandate.

More than a dozen other states are part of another similar lawsuit, but Virginia's is the first to go before a judge.

"I applaud today's decision allowing Virginia's constitutional challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to move forward," said Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The health care reform would "violate Virginia's Health Care Freedom Act, which was passed by a bipartisan majority of the Commonwealth's democratically elected representatives," McDonnell said.

"We are confident that the health care reform statute is constitutional and that we will ultimately prevail" said Tracy Schmaler, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice.

 The next hearing in the case is scheduled for October.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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