OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna issued the following statement today regarding the beginning of arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of portions of the national health care law:
“Protections for children with pre-existing conditions, young adults wishing to stay on their parents’ plans, and for those with little or no income need not be tied to an unconstitutional requirement forcing individuals to purchase government-approved insurance products. Such a requirement has never before been imposed on Americans by the federal government.
Their own staffs warned members of the last Congress that including such a mandate posed serious risks, yet they chose to include it anyway. Despite Congress’s risky gamble to include the mandate, we believe the Supreme Court will eliminate the unconstitutional section while leaving the rest of the law in place. Health care reform is incredibly important — and so, too, are constitutional protections guarding the rights of all Americans.”
McKenna pointed out that in August the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the individual mandate without declaring the entire act unconstitutional. It is the 11th Circuit case that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Of the dozens of federal judges who have heard challenges to the individual health insurance mandate, only one has struck down the entire law, and he was reversed on that point by the Court of Appeals.
As the lead state in the multi-state suit, the Florida Attorney General has negotiated a cost-sharing agreement with the bulk of the participating states to cover resources and personnel to pursue the case. Washington is not contributing to the cost-sharing agreement. No additional state resources have been set aside for use on this case.
Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725