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13 AGs File Suit to Block Health Reform Mandates

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 23, 2010

Attorneys general in 13 states didn't wait for President Obama's signature to dry on the healthcare reform bill today before they filed a joint lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new laws.

"A few minutes before 12 o'clock the president today signed into law a healthcare bill that in our judgment and the judgment of 12 other attorney generals is unconstitutional and invades the sovereignty of the states," Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said at a midday press conference in Tallahassee.

"Each of us involved in the lawsuit that we filed at 12:02 p.m. today in the Northern District of Florida believes the freedoms of Americans are being impaired by this bill," said McCollum, a Republican who is running for governor.

"It's about forcing people to buy health insurance when there is no provision in the constitution that allows for anybody to be forced to do something when there is no commerce, no action, you're just sitting there. It's a living tax," he said.

"The lawsuit we filed today will challenge the constitutionality. Ultimately, it will arrive at the U.S. Supreme Court and I am confident that the court is going to declare the new healthcare reform law unconstitutional," he added.

Joining the suit were attorneys general from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, and South Dakota, all Republicans; and Louisiana's Buddy Caldwell, a Democrat.

Comments from other attorneys general were along the same vein. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a media release that the healthcare reforms "no matter how important or well-intentioned—can't be allowed to trample the protections and rights guaranteed by our Constitution."

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