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Apr 21, 2011 10:07 AM by CNN

Idaho governor blocks federal health care reform law

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has issued an executive order prohibiting the state from implementing the federal health care reform law.

The move Wednesday came after Otter vetoed House Bill 298, which sought to nullify the Obama administration's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA.

Otter said the legislation went too far.

"The intent of that bill was to stop Obamacare, and of course I'm in total agreement with that," the governor told reporters. "It basically said that you couldn't plan anything that even looked like Obamacare."

Despite vetoing the bill, Otter used many of its key provisions in his executive order.

The order in part says: "No executive branch department, agency, institution or employee of the state shall establish or amend any program or promulgate any rule to implement any provisions of the PPACA."

The federal health care reform law has been challenged by 26 states and faces a June 8 hearing by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Two federal judges -- one in Virginia and the other in Michigan -- have ruled the health care act to be constitutional, while two others -- a judge in Florida and another in Virginia -- have concluded the opposite.

The Obama administration requested the hearing following a ruling by the federal judge in Florida in January declaring the federal health care reform law to be legally invalid.

Judge Roger Vinson, based in Pensacola, Florida, concluded the "individual mandate" -- a key provision requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance or face financial penalties -- is unconstitutional.

While he did not issue a formal injunction to block either parts of or the entire law from going into effect, he concluded that since the minimum coverage provision is invalid, no part of the 2,700-page law could be enforced.

In their successful request for the appellate hearing, administration lawyers argued that quick consideration by the court is crucial, given the law is so comprehensive, affecting nearly all U.S. residents. There also are lingering legal questions about whether parts of the law currently in effect can still be enforced.

The Affordable Care Act has about 450 individual components, placing a number of new or revised regulations on states, private insurance companies, employers and individuals.

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