State may join in lawsuit over health care bill

Published 9:12 pm Monday, March 22, 2010

Alabama Attorney General Troy King told the Associated Press he hopes to join in a lawsuit against the health-care plan passed by the U.S. House Sunday.

King said he and his staff have been participating in conference calls with attorney general offices in other states Monday discussing a possible lawsuit.

The effort, which could be spearheaded by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, will challenge the constitutional integrity of the bill.

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“The health care reform legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last night clearly violates the U.S. Constitution and infringes on each state’s sovereignty,” said McCollum in a Monday morning press conference.

The Republican attorney general and Florida governor candidate said the lawsuit would be based on two areas of constitutional violation.

“To fine or tax someone just for living … that’s unconstitutional. There is no provision in the Constitution giving Congress the power to do that,” he said.

McCollum was referring to the mandatory purchase of health insurance required by the bill that would force violators to pay a tax or fine.

According to a report by the AP, King agreed with McCollum saying the bill tramples “state sovereignty,” by requiring people to have health insurance and by taxing people for not having insurance.

McCollum also said the overhaul violates the 10th amendment rights of the states in that it “manipulates the states into doing things the states can’t afford.”

The former congressman said at least nine other states would be on board for the suit, including Alabama.

“On behalf of the State of Florida and of the attorneys general from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota and Alabama, if the President signs this bill into law, we will file a lawsuit to protect the rights and the interests of American citizens,” he said.

McCollum added that he expected additional states to take legal action, as well.

While Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Montgomery voted against the bill he said he is hesitant to jump on board with a full-scale appeal.

“While I strongly disagree with many aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and voted against the bill, I believe it’s premature to discuss repealing a bill that was just passed and has yet to be signed into law by the President,” he said.

“A wholesale repeal, or legal challenge, of the bill ignores the fact that this legislation contains some good parts, many of which will go into effect soon.”

Bright did confirm that some parts of the bill need reworking.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure changes are made to the deeply flawed parts of this bill, such as the taxes and individual mandates, while keeping the aspects that enjoy widespread support and will have a positive effect on my constituents.”

All of the attorneys general who have voiced support for the suit so far, have been Republican. McCollum said that the action had no underlying political motives however.

“There is no politics involved in this whatsoever,” he said.

“It’s unconstitutional. It invades the individuals right of choice. Politics notwithstanding, this bill is very bad.”