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Another Judge Tosses Health Care Challenge

(CN) - A federal judge has dismissed a challenge to health care reform filed by seven Missouri citizens including state Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. As with about two dozen other similar cases booted throughout the United States, the court said it lacked standing.

Earlier in the case history, Kinder, whose term expires in 2013, amended his claims to sue only in his individual capacity.

The government argued that neither Kinder nor the other plaintiffs have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law last year. In their complaint, the plaintiffs said the act "commandeers Missouri's duly elected state officials and compels them to enforce a federal regulatory healthcare scheme."

U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel, of the Eastern District of Missouri in Cape Girardeau, agreed on Tuesday.

"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," Sippel wrote.

Missouri could assert the claims, but it is not a party to this action, the 21-page ruling states.

Sippel dismissed the other claims on the basis that the plaintiffs failed to state an injury. "A claim is not ripe if I must speculate as to the existence of an injury," he wrote.

About two dozen other federal judges throughout the country have dismissed challenges to health care reform over standing.

In other challenges, two Virginia federal judges found that commonwealth had standing to sue, and judges in Washington D.C., Michigan and Florida ruled the same way about plaintiffs in their states. The judges ruled in less than half of these cases - Florida and one Virginia case - that the individual mandate provision was unconstitutional. These cases will proceed to the federal appeals courts for further findings, though the Supreme Court will likely have final say on the issue.


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