The White House insisted Tuesday that the implementation of President Barack Obama's landmark health care law will not be affected by a negative federal court ruling, and the Justice Department said it would appeal.
"There's no practical impact at all as states move forward in implementing ... the law that Congress passed and the president signed," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters.
Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said that, as expected, the department would appeal Monday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson in Virginia. Hudson declared that a central provision of the law — the requirement for nearly everyone to carry health insurance — was unconstitutional.
The ruling by the Republican-appointed judge in a high-profile lawsuit by Virginia's Republican attorney general was a setback for the Obama administration, but not a surprise. Two other district court judges, both Democratic appointees, have found the law constitutional.
Obama administration officials noted that consultations with states on implementing the law were moving forward. Later this week officials from all but a handful of states are expected to travel to Washington to meet with the Health and Human Services Department to discuss setting up the state-based insurance marketplaces, called exchanges, required by the new law.