As it comes down to the wire with the Healthcare Reform Bill being merged from the Senate and the House, cries of unconstitutionality of the bill begin. Apparently several state attorneys general and trade associations have expressed concern. It all comes down to the federal government ‘mandating’ insurance coverage.
Opposition states that the federal government has no authority to mandate health coverage or impose fines on those who don’t obtain coverage. Supporters say it falls under the legislative power to levy taxes.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum released a statement in December saying:
"I have grave concerns about the constitutionality of this mandate. Such a 'living tax' is worrisome because it would be levied on a person who does nothing, a person who simply wishes not to be forced to buy health insurance coverage. Upon initial review, this appears to be contrary to the freedoms we, as Americans, have enjoyed for the past 233 years … Given these concerns, my office will conduct a review of the constitutionality of the healthcare bill's individual mandate, specifically in regards to the Commerce Clause and Taxing Power set forth in the U.S. Constitution, and will evaluate Florida's legal options."
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has sent a letter to legislators in Texas stating that Congress's power to levy taxes is "not unlimited".
South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and other state attorneys general challenged constitutionality over what is called the "Cornhusker Kickback," which has the cost of all newly eligible Medicaid enrollees in Nebraska be paid for by the federal government, apparently to obtain the vote of Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. Seems there is a U.S. Supreme Court case that states that Congress does not possess the right under the Spending Power to demonstrate a 'display of arbitrary power.'
Word has it that several trade associations will challenge the Healthcare Reform Bill as well, arguing that the federal government is beyond its scope of authority in passing the bill or that the bill violates the equal protection clause of the constitution.
If any of this is true; if the expectation is that lawsuits will start to fly as soon as the Healthcare Reform Bill is passed; all because the Obama Administration and the Democrats are trying to ‘hurry’ the bill along; doesn’t it make sense to take the time to do it right; get it right; and get support? How will it possibly help the American people if we pass a bill that will be tied up in court for years? Force this bill and all I can say is… Let the Lawsuits Begin!