“No public policy goal – no matter how important or well-intentioned – can be allowed to trample the protections and rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said. “The federal health care legislation violates our Constitution, imposes an unprecedented mandate on individual Texans, and will require the Texas taxpayers to spend billions of additional dollars on health care programs. The addition of six new states to our bipartisan legal challenge reflects broad, nationwide concern about the constitutionality of this sweeping and unprecedented federal legislation.”
Under the federal health care law, for the first time in the nation’s history, the federal government is attempting to force individual Americans to enter into contracts and purchase services from private companies – in this case, insurance companies – or face a penalty. The state attorneys general are challenging this so-called individual mandate requirement, explaining that such an imposition on the American people exceeds Congress’ authority and violates Americans’ constitutional rights. Additionally, the states are challenging provisions of the new law that will impose dramatic Medicaid spending increases on the states – including $27 billion in mandatory spending increases in the State of Texas.
The 20-state coalition currently includes Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Alaska. The lawsuit is filed in the Federal District Court in the Northern District of Florida. The states are joined in this lawsuit by the National Federation of Independent Business, and individual plaintiffs Mary Brown and Kaj Ahlburg. Additionally, the Commonwealth of Virginia is pursuing a separate legal challenge to the controversial health care law. As a result, more than half the states have taken legal action to challenge the law’s constitutionality.
The lawsuit was filed shortly after President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. The legal action specifically challenges the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and names the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor as defendants because those federal agencies are charged with implementing the Act’s constitutionally impermissible provisions.