Health care reform may have passed through Congress but individual states are lining up to contest its constitutionality, in court, if need be.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia was the first to announce on Monday that he will file a legal challenge as soon as the president signs the reconciliation bill into law.
Cuccinelli’s colleague from Florida, Bill McCollum was quick to join him along with at least nine other state prosecutors to file a lawsuit aimed, he said, as protecting the rights of the American people.
At a press conference, McCollum stressed two matters of concern with health care reform as it currently awaits the president’s signature. First, “the individual mandate provision” that forces citizens to purchase health insurance lest they be fined by their owns government. Second, McCollum seeks to have the entire bill declared unconstitutional “on the basis that it manipulates the states” and violates the Tenth Amendment.
According to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), with Texas Representative Bryan Hughes announcing his intention today to file legislation that would protect his state from a federal requirement to purchase health insurance, there are thirty-nine states set to block Washington’s reform bill.
“The bill that passed last night is a radical departure from the role of government our Founders put in the Constitution,” said Hughes. “There is no question that it will lead to increased taxes, fewer health care options, and more government control of our most basic personal decisions.”
Hughes, like many of his colleagues throughout the country, is modeling his proposal on ALEC’s Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act that ensures a patient’s right to pay for medical treatment directly while prohibiting an individual from being penalized for not buying health insurance.
In addition to action in Virginia, Idaho, and Arizona, such a Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act has passed one legislative body in Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee already while legislators are expected to introduce it soon in Alabama, Kansas, and Michigan as well.
States that aren’t joining the effort include California, Nevada and Oregon as well as several states in New England, New York among them.
The White House responded to the initiatives later on Monday, confident that it would “win” any lawsuits challenging the legality of the health care bill. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs didn’t think they would be “very successful.”