The U.S. Appeals Court has labeled part of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law as unconstitutional.
Obama’s health reforms look to implement a system whereby almost all Americans will be required to purchase health insurance starting in 2014.
A panel of the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, voted 2 to 1 to rule that the law`s individual mandate requiring everyone to own health insurance in America`s mostly-private system exceeded Congress`s power.
"The individual mandate exceeds Congress's enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional," wrote Chief Judge Joel Dubina.
The remainder of the health care law, which extended coverage to an extra 32 million people, was however considered constitutional.
The ruling stated: "This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives."
However, the White House disagreed with the ruling believing that the law would not be unconstitutional.
“The Department of Justice believes -- as the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held, and the dissenting judge in the Eleventh Circuit concluded -- that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional,” the Justice Department said in an e-mailed statement.
Stephanie Cutter, a special assistant to Obama has declared that “those who claim this provision exceeds Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce are incorrect.”
"By bringing everyone into the health insurance system, we can not only lower costs for everyone but also finally ban discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions," said Cutter.
The proposed law is strongly opposed by Republicans that call it “Obamacare” and allege that it is against individual liberty. Twenty-six states controlled by republicans filed lawsuits against the federal state to shoot down Obama’s health care proposals.
"Forcing Americans to buy health insurance approved by the government was an unprecedented, unwelcome, and unconstitutional expansion of federal power," said Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate.
For Ricky Perry, the conservative Texas governor, the law is an “egregious violation of our constitutional rights.”
The court’s ruling increased the likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court will also analyze the issue, a procedure that could take months or even years.
A poll taken by CBS News found that 48 percent of people who were asked about the health care law said that they disapproved, while 37 percent said they approved it.