general from 13 states sued the federal government, claiming the landmark
health care overhaul is unconstitutional just seven minutes after President
Barack Obama signed it into law.
The lawsuit was filed in Pensacola after the Democratic president signed the
bill the House passed Sunday night.
“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 says.
Legal experts say it has little chance of succeeding because, under the Constitution,
federal laws trump state laws.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is taking the lead and is joined by attorneys
general from South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania,
Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Colorado and Louisiana. All are
Republicans except James “Buddy” Caldwell of Louisiana, who is a Democrat.
The lawsuit claims the bill violates the 10th Amendment, which says the federal
government has no authority beyond the powers granted to it under the
Constitution, by forcing the states to carry out its provisions but not
reimbursing them for the costs.
Some states are also looking at other ways to avoid participating in the overhaul.
Virginia and Idaho have passed legislation aimed at blocking the bill’s
insurance requirement from taking effect, and the Republican-led Legislature in
Florida is trying to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ask voters
to exempt the state from the federal law’s requirements. At least 60 per cent
of voters would have to approve.