Thursday, December 16, 2010

20 States Sue Government Over Federal Health Care Act

Lawyers representing 20 states were in a Florida courtroom Thursday arguing to overturn the federal Health Care Act

Their lawsuit is just one significant force in the overall legal opposition to the law across the country.

The Attorneys General from 20 states have a message for the president

"Obamacare should be stricken down as a violation of the constitution," says Texas AG Greg Abbott.

Attorneys General from Texas, Florida and Alabama argued in a federal court that congress does not have the constitutional authority to force all Americans to buy health insurance --or penalize them if they don't.

"The judge actually said if Congress can get away with making us purchase health care, it could also get away with making us buy broccoli," says Abbott.

They also told the judge, if states are forced to expand medicaid programs under the new law, they'll go broke.

"Where are you going to get the money? Are we going to raise taxes in the states enormously?" asks Bill McCollum, the Florida Attorney General.

Earlier this week a federal judge in Virginia ruled that citizens cannot be forced to buy health insurance. Supporters of this lawsuit want the Florida judge to go even further; to actually stop the federal government from enacting health care reform.

But two other federal judges have upheld the law and dozens of groups are weighing in from the sidelines.

"There is a lot at stake because there are tens of millions of people who are going to gain coverage as a result of this legislation.," says Ron Pollack, the Executive Director for Families USA.

Outside the courthouse some showed their distrust of more government intervention, but others who've fought their own health care battles want to see this reform law stick.

"In my situation, I would have suffered less not only financially, but medically had I been eligible for medicaid," explains Laurie Scop, a Florida resident.

Lawyers for the federal government say ultimately states don't have the authority to interfere. Legal analysts say the issue will undoubtedly end up before the Supreme Court.

The other states involved in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska,
Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

By CBS News


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