12 attorneys general join McCollum to sue over health reform law

03/23/10 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

This afternoon, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum filed a lawsuit against the federal government. He was joined by the attorneys general of 12 other states. They allege the health care reform law signed today by President Barack Obama is unconstitutional.

In our judgment and the judgment of twelve other state attorney generals [sic] is unconstitutional and invades the sovereignty of state. … The freedoms of Americans … were impaired by this bill and it forces people to do something … the Constitution does not allow Congress to do.

McCollum said the new health care reform law requires things of the states that are not allowed by the Constitution.

We simply can’t afford mandates.

Besides the attorney general of Louisiana, Buddy Caldwell, all the attorneys general who joined McCollum’s lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the law are Republicans. They come from the states of South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho and South Dakota.

The lawsuit that we filed today will challenge that constitutionality. It will go through a process of going through the district court that ultimately will wind up in the United States Supreme Court. And I’m confident the court will declare the new health care reform law unconstitutional, McCollum said.

McCollum said the Florida Medical Association supports the lawsuit.

Secretary Tom Arnold heads the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. Arnold said he has testified before legislative panels about the cost estimates associated with the federal health care reform law.

In an email statement, Republican Party of Florida Chair John Thrasher wrote, “I applaud General McCollum for standing up for the people of Florida and the people of the United States by challenging this unconstitutional legislation that so grossly threatens the individual rights of Americans.”

The speaker-designate of the Florida House, Dean Cannon from Winter Park, considers the health care law part of a pattern of bigger government.

Because there are many different regions in Florida, Sen. Mike Haridopolos feels that a one-size-fits-all model of Medicaid is not the best plan for the state. Rather, the senator from Melbourne thinks Florida should undertake what he calls 'Medicaid reform', and the federal law signed today would hamper that.

Last week, Stetson University College of Law professor Bruce Jacob said the lawsuit is not likely to succeed. A Democrat running for attorney general of Florida, state Sen. Dave Aronberg, suggested McCollum’s actions were political since he is running for governor. Member of Congress Kathy Castor, a Democrat who represents parts of the Tampa Bay area, calls the lawsuit “absurd.”

Castor said McCollum’s lawsuit will not hinder the bill’s reconciliation package from moving forward in the Senate.

You can find the lawsuit on our website, wmnf.org/news. Virginia’s attorney general has filed a separate lawsuit.

Previous WMNF coverage of McCollum’s lawsuit

Attorneys generals’ lawsuit in Florida

Republican Party of Florida

Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration

Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park

Sen. Mike Haridopolos

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