Moments after President Barack Obama signed into law the most significant piece of social legislation in the last 50 years, attorneys general from all over the country began filing suit.
State attorneys general from 13 states signed onto a single lawsuit against the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor moments after President Obama signed the Healthcare Reform Bill.
Attorneys general from Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Dakota, Louisiana, Idaho, Washington and Colorado joined in the complaint.
The underlying issue in this lawsuit is the constitutionality of the "individual mandate," which requires most Americans to have an insurance plan or else pay a federal penalty.
"The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit reads.
The Constitution does grant to Congress the authority to "regulate commerce", but proponents of this lawsuit argue the language used in the Constitution in no way allows the government to mandate its people buy a particular good or service.
"Just being alive is not interstate commerce," Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement before the lawsuit was officially filed. Virginia's General Assembly passed a law earlier this year stating that no resident can be compelled to have health insurance.
Currently, Virginia is the only state with a law like that on its books. Though, it may not be long before it gets company.
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray’s office received a submission for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution titled: “To preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage.”
The proposal, submitted Monday afternoon, would amend the Ohio Constitution, making it illegal to force Ohioians to purchase health insurance.
The amendment reads: No federal, state or local law shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.
Read the full text of the submitted initiative petition.
By statute, the Attorney General has 10 calendar days to determine whether or not to certify the summary language as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment.
The deadline for the Attorney General’s decision on this submission is April 1, 2010.
Thus far, it is unclear whether Cordray would support such an amendment.
Much to the chagrin of some Ohioians, Cordray does not appear inclined to join the other 13 state attorney generals who have filed suit against the Health Care Bill.