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Health reform under attack: Doubtful prognosis

MINUTES after Barack Obama signed his health bill into law, 13 states filed a lawsuit aiming to overturn it. Others soon clamoured to join in. When Georgia’s attorney-general was reluctant, local Republicans demanded that he should be impeached. In the end 26 states challenged the law. On August 12th they were vindicated, at least for now.A federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled that the law’s requirement that everyone must buy insurance is unconstitutional. In the battle to overturn health reform, this has been the Republicans’ biggest victory yet. Still, the health law remains in force. The ruling was really a reminder of just how long it will be before the law’s fate is settled.Since Democrats passed the reforms in March 2010, they have faced a multi-fronted attack. Some threats have been serious, others less so. Many states have been slow to create health exchanges, where people will buy their insurance. Some governors have refused money from Washington. Least important are the votes by Republican congressmen. They have passed big measures, such as Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, and small ones, such as barring money for preventive health care. None of these is designed to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. All are designed for next year’s campaign flyers.The real fight, any Republican would admit, has been in the courts. The many suits filed share a…

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