US judge lets Virginia healthcare challenge proceed

WASHINGTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Monday refused to dismiss the state of Virginia’s challenge to President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare law, a setback that will force his administration to mount a lengthy legal defense of the overhaul effort.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson refused to dismiss the state’s lawsuit which argues the law’s requirement that its residents have health insurance was unconstitutional, allowing the challenge to go forward.

The new law is a major cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s domestic agenda and administration officials have vigorously defended it as constitutional and necessary to stem huge increases in costs for health care.

Virginia’s lawsuit is one of several trying to undo the law which Obama signed earlier this year aimed at overhauling the $2.5 trillion healthcare system. (Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, Editing by Sandra Maler)