An important hearing today in Florida will have an enormous impact on the battle over ObamaCare.

The hearing in a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Northern District of Florida that  challenges the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is an important hurdle. The lawsuit was filed by the State of Florida, 19 other states, and several other plaintiffs.

IWF policy analyst Hadley Heath has a good explanation of what is at stake: 

This is the first hurdle for the plaintiffs.  The judge's decision will make it possible for the case to continue – like what happened in Virginia when Judge Hudson ruled against the Motion to Dismiss – or it will dismiss the case. 

The issues at stake in this case relate to state sovereignty, and specifically challenge the individual health insurance mandate provision of the PPACA.   The Plaintiffs allege that the Act will take away control of the budgetary process and legislative agendas of each state, but will still force them to pay for the great costs of the reform.  In their Amended Complaint, the Plaintiffs also discuss Article I of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment, noting that a mandate that forces individuals to either have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty is unconstitutional and not within the power of the federal government. 

Because the Plaintiffs in this case are states, they are especially concerned with the top-down unfunded mandates in the PPACA, which could change the voluntary nature of the federal-state relationship.  The new costs to states from the PPACA could drive them to bankruptcy.

What if the judges lets the case go forward? An editorial in the Orange County Register says such a decision would “drive a stake” through the heart of ObamaCare.

We will keep you abreast of developments.