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Appeals court strikes health insurance requirement

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ATLANTA (AP) — A federal appeals court panel on Friday struck down the requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul package that virtually all Americans must carry health insurance or face penalties.

The divided three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the so-called individual mandate, which is considered the centerpiece of the law, siding with 26 states that had sued to block the law. But the panel didn't go as far as a lower court that had invalidated the entire overhaul as unconstitutional.

Government attorneys can — and likely will — ask the full 11th Circuit to review the panel's ruling. They also can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which many legal observers expect to have the final say on the issue.

White House adviser Stephanie Cutter said the administration strongly disagreed with the ruling and was confident it would not stand.

"Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are making an economic decision that affects all of us — when people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, those with insurance and taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab," Cutter said.


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