Federal judge dismisses health care lawsuit

Federal judge dismisses health care lawsuit

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[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri [official website] on Tuesday dismissed [opinion, PDF] a challenge to the federal health care reform law [text; JURIST news archive] for lack of standing. The suit was brought by Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder [official website] and six other citizens who alleged that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) violates provisions of both the US and Missouri constitutions. Judge Rodney Sippel dismissed the suit, finding that the plaintiffs lack standing:

To whatever extent Plaintiffs allege an injury to the sovereign interests of the State of Missouri, they do not have standing to bring these claims because Plaintiffs, including Kinder, bring this case as individuals. As the Supreme Court has observed, a plaintiff “generally must assert his own legal rights and interests and cannot rest his claim to relief on the legal rights or interests of third parties.” … While the State of Missouri may have standing to assert the claim in Count I, it is not a party to this action and Plaintiff Kinder and the other Plaintiffs do not and cannot bring this action on behalf of Missouri.

Kinder has said that he plans to file an appeal [press release].

Several other challenges to the PPACA have also been dismissed for lack of standing. Last week, a judge for the US District Court for the District of New Jersey [official website] rejected [JURIST report] a lawsuit, brought without an attorney by two New Jersey residents, on jurisdictional grounds, ruling the two men had no standing to challenge the law. In a similar ruling earlier in the month, a judge for the US District Court for the District of New Hampshire [official website] dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] also challenging the law’s constitutionality and held that the plaintiff, 80-year-old Harold Peterson, lacked standing because his Medicare coverage automatically satisfied the law’s insurance mandate. In December, a judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] ruled that the minimum coverage provision of the health care reform law is unconstitutional [JURIST report]. A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida [official website] has also struck down the law, while judges in Michigan and Virginia have upheld it [JURIST reports].