The Obama administration Tuesday appealed a U.S. judge's ruling in Florida that struck down the landmark healthcare overhaul law as unconstitutional because it required Americans to buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty.
President Barack Obama's Justice Department filed its notice of appeal and the case will go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta. The fight over the law is expected to reach the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in January backed arguments by 26 states that the sweeping law's requirement that Americans buy health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty was unconstitutional.
Last week, as Newsmax reported, he agreed to put his decision on hold pending appeal but he ordered the Obama administration to file its appeal by Thursday and to seek a fast-track review.
Vinson's is one of two rulings that have found the individual mandate unconstitutional, but his was the only one that invalidated the entire healthcare law. A handful of judges in other states have dismissed legal challenges to the law.
Healthcare reform is the signature of Obama's domestic policy and the administration had said it would appeal the ruling and continue to implement the law because halting it would cause irreparable harm.
The overhaul enacted last year aims to expand health insurance to cover millions of uninsured Americans while also curbing costs. Administration officials insist it is needed to stem huge projected increases in healthcare costs.
Opponents of the law have argued that it is unconstitutional because it penalizes Americans for failing to engage in commerce, specifically buying health insurance coverage.
© 2016 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.