Two challenges to the health care reform law were dismissed by the Virginia 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 8, ruling that all legal disputes over the issue cannot be decided until the tax penalty provision of the law goes into effect in 2014.
Federal law known as the Anti-Injunction Act prevented Chief Judge Diana Gribbon Motz and other judges from ruling on the issue before the tax came into effect, Motz told the Los Angeles Times.
Uninsured students over the age of 26 will either have to buy insurance or pay the initial penalties when the law goes into effect.
“It’s daunting to think I’ll have to pay to cover my own well-being,” said Jon Wyatt, 22, mechanical engineering major.
Citizens with taxable incomes who do not have health care will be fined $95 under health care reforming starting in 2014. This amount could rise to $325 in 2015 and $695 in 2016, according to Joint Committee on Taxation.
“For some students, it may be worth it to just pay the fines,” said Shirley Svorny, economics professor at CSUN.
The decision to allow students under the age of 26 to stay on under their parents’ insurance came into effect in September 2010.
Effects of the penalty will depend on how students choose to react to it, said economics professor Ken Chapman.
Finding a post-college job with a good health care plan is not the top priority for most students, Chapman said.
“Most young people simply think they don’t need health insurance,” he added.
But students are starting to think about the health care law could effect them.
Wyatt said he hopes to find a job that provides health coverage by the time he graduates.
“I’m not looking forward to the day I’m no longer on my parents’ health care plan,” he said.
The tax penalty will also have a significant effect on the economy, Svorny said.
Employers who provide health care coverage are likely to pay more once their employees are required to be insured, she said. Small firms that purchase insurance for their workers might have to hire fewer workers in order to save costs.
The two challenges to Obama’s healthcare law were filed separately by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Liberty University. Both parties argued the provision is unconstitutional.
Cuccinelli said that he was disappointed in the ruling and vowed to appeal the decision, according to a statement.
“Our disappointment not only stems from the fact that the court ruled against us, but also that the court did not even reach the merits on the key question of Virginia’s lawsuit,” he said. “(Which is) whether Congress has a power never before recognized in American history: the power to force one citizen to purchase a good or service from another citizen.”
Many more challenges the law are expected to rise when it goes into affect three years from now, said Melanie Williams, chair of the business law department at CSUN.
Although Virginia’s courts ruled out the cases because it was too soon, Williams said the issue is likely to reach the Supreme Court, which can take on cases earlier than expected if they are deemed urgent.
“It’s like cutting the front of the line,” she said. “The Supreme Court will take on cases sooner than later, especially if it will greatly impact the lives of others.”