10 States Line Up To Sue Over Health Bill, Florida AG Says
Ten states plan to file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new health care reform bill, Florida’s attorney general announced Monday.
Bill McCollum, the Republican attorney general under fellow Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, told a news conference that the lawsuit would be filed once President Obama signs the health care bill into law. He said he’ll be joined by his counterparts in Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.
All of the attorneys general in the 10 states mentioned by McCollum are Republican, but McCollum said the lawsuit would be about the law and not politics.
Also Monday, Virginia’s Republican attorney general said his state would file a lawsuit challenging the health care bill. It was unclear if Virginia would join the other states or proceed on its own.
–Bill McCollum, Florida attorney general
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill on Sunday night, and Obama intends to sign it Tuesday, according to Democratic sources.
McCollum said the lawsuit would challenge the bill’s provision requiring people to purchase health insurance, along with provisions that will force state government to spend more on health care services.
“This is a tax or a penalty on just living, and that’s unconstitutional,” he said of the mandate to purchase health coverage. “There’s no provision in the Constitution of the United States giving Congress the power to do that.”
McCollum also said that portions of the bill would force states to spend money they don’t have, which he called a violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.
“There’s no way we can do what’s required in this bill and still provide for education, for foster care, for the incarceration of prisoners, all the other things that are in this bill,” he said.
McCollum said he expected the lawsuit to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Later Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration expected to win any lawsuits filed against the health care bill.
The Democratic governor of Washington criticized her state’s attorney general, Rob McKenna, for being part of the planned lawsuit.
Gov. Chris Gregoire issued a statement that said she disagreed with McKenna’s decision and that the attorney general was not representing her. Gregoire’s statement also said she would actively oppose the lawsuit.