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Judge to hear legal arguments of Obama health plan

AP, September 14, 2010

The Obama administration will try to persuade a federal judge Tuesday to throw out a lawsuit by 20 states that claim the president's health care overhaul is unconstitutional.

The fight will primarily be over sections of the law that will require individuals to have health insurance or face tax penalties and require states to pay additional Medicaid costs not covered by the federal government.

Attorneys defending the law will argue that the section requiring health insurance doesn't take effect until 2015 and it's up to an individual taxpayer — not the states — to challenge the law then. The government has said it has the right to create the insurance mandate under the commerce and general welfare clauses of the Constitution.

Florida's Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum filed the lawsuit just minutes after President Barack Obama signed the 10-year, $938 billion health care bill into law last March. He chose a court in Pensacola, one of Florida's most conservative cities. The nation's most influential small business lobby, the National Federation of Independent Business, has joined McCollum's suit, and a similar case is unfolding in Virginia.