New parties in health care reform lawsuit

05/14/10 Kate Bradshaw
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In Tampa this afternoon, Florida Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Bill McCollum has announced that more parties have joined him in his lawsuit against the federal government over health care reform. The Attorney General says the suit now consists of twenty states, one powerful DC lobbying group, and two small business owners. McCollum reiterated his basis for the suit.

He added that the petitioners think there’s also a states’ rights issue at play.

The lobbying group that joined the suit is the National Federation of Independent Businesses. It’s an organization that often supports Republican causes and hosts speakers like Dick Cheney at its events. The new law requires owners of businesses with more than fifty full-time employees to buy provide health benefits, or pay a two thousand dollar per employee fine. Karen Harned, Executed Director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, said the controversial health care overhaul will cost small businesses dearly.

McCollum said the lawsuit could take years to play out, given that the losing side will most likely appeal.

That could be a problem for McCollum, given that he won’t be attorney general anymore. McCollum, who hopes to be the sitting governor at that point, said that carrying out the lawsuit is within the purview of the attorney general as well as the governor. He added that, should neither of those officeholders desire to drop out of the suit, the litigation will still go on.

State Senator Dan Gelber, a Miami Democrat running for Attorney General, says he doesn’t buy Attorney General McCollum’s stated reasons for filing suit.

McCollum said that he believes the suit falls squarely within his job description.

The Justice Department has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. McCollum said that motion will likely be heard in September.

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