Fourteen States Sue Federal Government On Constitutionality Of The Healthcare Reform Law
Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACP
Fourteen states are suing the U.S. Government in order to block the healthcare reform bill. The participating plaintiff states are Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington State, Idaho, and South Dakota.
Virginia has filed a separate lawsuit. It is anticipated that other states will join the lawsuit.
“State attorneys general wasted no time filing legal challenges to President Obama’s healthcare reform law, swinging into action with legal filings in Florida and Virginia within minutes of the White House signing ceremony on Tuesday.”
The state attorneys general charged that the new healthcare reform package exceeds Congress’ power to regulate commerce, violates 10th Amendment protection of state sovereignty and imposes an unconstitutional direct tax.
“This lawsuit should put the federal government on notice that Florida will not permit the constitutional rights of our citizens and the sovereignty of our state to be ignored or disregarded,”
President Obama’s administration has dismissed the lawsuits. Robert Gibbs said White House lawyers have advised them that the administration would win the lawsuits. Mr. Gibbs’ contention received more traditional media coverage than the reasons for the lawsuits.
A Democratic Party spokesman has turned the table on reality and said the lawsuits are a waste of state funds that will create large state deficits.
Who is paying for the federal government’s defense expenses?
Virginia filed a separate law suit in federal court in Richmond. The suit focuses on the mandate issue. A state law protects Virginia residents freedom to refuse unwanted health insurance. President Obama’s healthcare reform bill imposes penalties on anyone who avoids buying healthcare insurance.
“It has never been held that the Commerce Clause [of the Constitution] … can be used to require citizens to buy goods and services,” the suit says. “To depart from that history to permit the national government to require the purchase of goods and services would deprive the Commerce Clause of any effective limits.”
The goal of the multi-state lawsuit is to move through the court system to the U.S. Supreme Court. The states are confident the U.S. Supreme court will declare the new healthcare law unconstitutional.
“The multi-state lawsuit maintains that new law infringes the liberty of individual state residents to choose for them whether to have health insurance. It also says the states themselves are victims of a federal power grab by leaders in Washington.”
During the writing of the U.S. Constitution, our founding fathers worked hard to preserve individual freedoms and states’ rights. The fear was that a federal system of government would attempt to control those rights and freedoms. These debates are beautifully outlined in Richard Deeman’s book”Plain Honest Men”
Michael Connelly is a constitutional lawyer who explains the constitutional issues in President Obama’s healthcare reform bill. His explanation of the issues are clearly stated on his blog.
“The entire bill is a blatant attempt to hide what is really going on when it comes to the Constitutional implications for individual Americans and the states that we live in.”
“Instead, this is a summary of the most important parts of the bill that will deal a severe and possibly fatal blow to the Constitution of the United States of America.”
Michael Connelly permitted me to print his first analysis of the unconstitutionality of the HR 3200. President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi used a number of tricks to get the bill passed by a partisan congress.
Many of the tricks are unconstitutional. The methodology and results were not the intention of the founding fathers’.
It is essential that the American people understand the specifics of the constitutional issues. The Public should not accept the administrations sleight of hand comments about the lawsuits.
I salute the state governments who are taking a stand. I hope many other states will join the lawsuits.
It is important to present Michael Connelly’s comments as a source reference to the constitutional issues of President Obama’s healthcare reform law.
“ I won’t even attempt to deal with all of the items covered in the bill because that would probably require a book.
1. the passage of this bill far exceeds the powers granted to Congress under the provisions of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution which specifically states what Congress can do.
2. The bill grants powers to President Obama and the Executive Branch of government that are not authorized under the Constitution.
3. The new law requires every American, simply by virtue of the fact that they are alive, to purchase health insurance from private companies that will be heavily regulated by the Federal government. This is not authorized under the commerce clause of the Constitution and the Supreme Court has never rendered a decision saying that such power exists.
4. The legislation not only requires people to purchase health insurance, but establishes the terms and conditions that such insurance plans will have. In other words, Americans will be forced to enter into contracts for coverage that they may not want or need.
5. Failure to comply with the requirements to buy health insurance or even health insurance approved by the Federal Government will result in punitive action against American citizens. People will be fined for this failure although the bill calls it a tax. This is an effort to bypass the provisions of the 5th Amendment to the Constitution which provides protection against the taking of our property without “due process”.
6. This tax will be collected by the Internal Revenue Service that will have an additional 16,500 agents and auditors hired to enforce it. This opens the door for people who fail to pay the “tax” being subjected to criminal penalties.
7. In order to facilitate the actions by the IRS the Federal government will have real time access to the formerly private information of Americans including medical records and financial information. This is a violation of our right to privacy and the 4th Amendment protection against illegal searches and seizures.
8. The imposition of this so called “tax” also violates Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution that limits the type of taxes that Congress can levy.
9. The bill also takes away from the states their historic right to regulate the health care industry, including health care insurance, within their own borders. Everything will now be regulated by the Federal government. This is a clear violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.
10. In addition, the legislation will force State Governments to add millions of people to Medicaid, yet the Federal government will not be funding most of this. In other words, the bill will force the states to impose massive tax increases on their citizens in order to pay for this coverage. Congress has no authority to do this and it is
another clear violation of the 10th Amendment.
11. The impact on senior citizens in the United States will be immediate and devastating and will entail a breach of contract between Americans and their own government. We are required to pay taxes for Medicare coverage and have a right to expect that they will have adequate health care coverage when we reach age 65. However, enormous cuts in the funding of Medicare under the provisions of the new law will deny us the coverage we have paid for and inevitably lead to the rationing of health care for senior citizens.
12. There are also numerous new taxes imposed under this law ranging from taxes on so called “Cadillac” policies that provide a high level of coverage, to taxes on medical devices, and even taxes on tanning booths. I consider all of these to be questionable under the powers granted to Congress in the Constitution.
These are just some of the important Constitutional issues about this bill, yet there are other disturbing aspects that Americans need to consider.
For example, the bill does not prohibit Federal Funding of abortions and that is something many Americans want. Yet, the votes of some members of Congress who opposed this provision were purchased by the President’s promise to sign an Executive Order prohibiting such Federal funding.
In fact, he did sign such an order shortly after he signed the health care bill. This was a ruse. The President has no authority under the Constitution to issue an Executive order changing the provisions of a law passed by Congress that he has just signed. The Executive Order is meaningless.
Finally, there is another section of the legislation that has nothing to do with health care. It is an authorization for the Federal Government to take complete control of the granting of student loans for our children to further their education.
If you are preparing to send your son or daughter to college you will no longer be able to go to your local bank to take out a student loan. Instead, federal bureaucrats will decide who gets student loans and under what terms and conditions. What will be owed to the Federal government besides the repayment of loans? Will some type of Federal service will be required and will your child have to attend a university approved by the Government. The potential implications are staggering.”
As the bill was unfolding the trick plays and unconstitutional aspects of the healthcare reform bill were obvious. Besides ignoring the constitution President Obama’s healthcare reform bill ignores the will of the people.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.
Evan Falchuk • April 19, 2010
There were always very good policy grounds to oppose the reform plans.
But the constitutionality of them was never one of them.
The states had plenty of opportunity to oppose the plans on the policy grounds they are now trying to turn into questions of constitutional law.
But they failed to make their voices heard, for reasons that are inexplicable to me. It’s too late now, and borderline frivolous constitutional arguments aren’t going to change anything.
You’re right that this is an important shift in power to the federal government. But the governors supporting these lawsuits only have themselves to blame for not raising this argument when it could have made a difference.