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Thursday, April 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

… As 14 States Challenge It

(CN) - As President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law Tuesday, attorneys general in 14 states filed federal lawsuits contending that it's unconstitutional. Florida was joined by a dozen other states in claiming that "the Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health-care coverage."

The Virginia attorney general filed a similar complaint on his own.

Florida and a dozen other states challenged the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Pensacola Federal Court. Joining with Florida were South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, and South Dakota.

Virginia sued in Richmond. Virginia claims that Section 1501 of the new law - "an individual mandate which will require a majority of Virginians after December 31, 2013 to purchase health insurance for themselves and their dependants [sic] subject to a civil penalty," as Virginia describes it - violates an anti-reform bill passed this year by the Virginia Assembly and signed by the governor.

Virginia claims the whole health reform bill is unconstitutional because it contains no severability clause.

Florida claims the bill violates the 10th Amendment.

Virginia sued U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Florida sued Sebelius and the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.

Both want enforcement of the bill enjoined.

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