Federal judge rules reform law's insurance mandate unconstitutional

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A Virginia federal judge Monday ruled that the “individual mandate” aspect of the healthcare reform law violates the Constitution. It is the first such ruling among trial courts. 

"An individual's personal decision to purchase—or decline purchase—(of) health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach of the U.S. Constitution," U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson wrote in his opinion. 

The healthcare reform law requires that Americans have a minimum level of health insurance coverage by 2014 or face a tax penalty. Republicans, who are taking over the U.S. House next year, have vowed to overturn or repeal aspects of the law. The U.S. Supreme Court may be the ultimate arbiter of the legality of the law, which contains many provisions affecting the long-term care community.