More than half of all states now pursuing challenges to federal health care reform
OLYMPIA—The number of states represented in a multi-state challenge to provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could climb to 26. States today filed a motion requesting to add six additional states to the case: Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine.
The multi-state suit, filed in March 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, challenges:
• The unprecedented and unconstitutional requirement that all Americans must obtain or purchase private health care insurance or face a fine; and
• The massive expansion of the Medicaid program which will unconstitutionally require states to spend billions more at a time when state budgets are already in crisis.
“Forcing all U.S. citizens to obtain a commercial product in the private market with their own money is an unprecedented and unconstitutional move by the federal government,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna. “We need health care reform that’s constitutional and actually reduces the financial burden on our citizens and our states. That is why I joined this lawsuit on behalf of Washingtonians and that is why states continue to join us.”
The states presented their case before US District Court Judge Roger Vinson in Florida on Dec. 16, 2010. Vinson indicated he hoped to rule soon but did not offer a specific timeline.
The states of Virginia has mounted its own separate challenges to the new law and Oklahoma has announced its intention to do the same. US District Court Judge Henry Hudson for the Eastern District of Virginia in December sided with Virginia in finding the individual mandate unconstitutional.
If the judge allows the new states to join the suit, the states involved in the multi-state lawsuit would include: Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Additional plaintiffs include the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and two individuals.
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For more information on the multi-state lawsuit visit:
•Washington’s Web site on the health care lawsuit• The multi-state Web site on the health care lawsuit
• Janelle Guthrie, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725