March 19th, 2010
03:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Two state attorneys general ready to file lawsuit on health care

McMaster told CNN he will file a lawsuit quickly, if the bill is passed.
McMaster told CNN he will file a lawsuit quickly, if the bill is passed.

(CNN) - Should the Democrats' health care reform bill make it to President Obama's desk, at least two Republican state attorneys general are prepared to file a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster told CNN he and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum are ready to take issue with a controversial provision known as "the cornhusker kickback" that exempted the state of Nebraska from paying for Medicare costs and with another provision that mandates all Americans buy health insurance.

The provision giving special treatment to Nebraska was not included in the House bill unveiled Thursday but the legislation must be returned to the Senate before final passage. Democratic leaders have vowed that provision is dead but thirteen other attorney generals in addition to McMaster and McCollum have already signed on to the plan to file a lawsuit if the so-called "cornhusker kickback" is included in any final version of the bill signed by Obama.

But even if that controversial provision is removed, McMaster and McCollum say the bill's individual mandate provision is an unconstitutional encroachment on state authority as protected by the 10th Amendment - the part of the Constitution that provides all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government continue to remain with the states.

"The individual mandate is unconstitutional and a violation of state sovereignty and individual liberty," McMaster told CNN. "This is the most egregious, unconstitutional legislation that we can remember."

But proponents of the legislation maintain it is clearly constitutional under the federal government's constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce - a power the Supreme Court has long said provides Congress with wide discretion to pass legislation in areas not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.

But McMaster says this bill is a clear departure from what the Supreme Court has said was permissible in the past because, instead of regulating a pre-existing purchase, the health care bill requires individuals to make a purchase of insurance coverage.

"If you choose to get into interstate commerce, the Congress can regulate it," he said. "But here, the difference is that this is requiring folks to get into interstate commerce by buying insurance. That's blatantly unconstitutional I believe."

While McMaster and McCollum are seeking their states' respective GOP gubernatorial nominations, McMaster says their lawsuit has nothing to do with politics.

"We are motivated by the law, according to the constitution," McMaster said.


Filed under: Bill McCollum • Health care • Henry McMaster • Popular Posts
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Marc

    While McMaster and McCollum are seeking their states' respective GOP gubernatorial nominations, McMaster says their lawsuit has nothing to do with politics.
    "We are motivated by the law, according to the constitution," McMaster said.
    And I believe in the Tooth Fairie and Santa Claus...

    Honestly, did they think somebody (besides far right extremists or perhaps not even them) will fall for this?
    Let's see it clear. If there is a mandatory clause in the bill said clause is unconstitutional, check.
    If there isn't such clause there's no uncontitucional problem within the bill, check.
    So these two guys are nothing but obstructionists, CHECK!!!

    March 19, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    OUR Constitution requires the following for passing bills into law: "...in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively."

    My seven year old understands this perfectly; perhaps it is a bit too much to ask of our wacked out loony lib Dems, including their decrepid leadership.

    March 19, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Beasly3B

    Since the benefits don't kick in for four more years (although the taxes and cuts start now), what is the problem with doing the cuts and increasing the taxes for the next four years and if the Administration saves as much as they say they can, then we go ahead with the healthcare program. It is just the history of our politicians, when they say something will cost $10, it ends up costing $50. The numbers never work out as they predict. Name one single govt program that comes in at it's projected cost. If you can, then, I will name you 10 that don't.

    March 19, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. horse

    if the dems actually find something resembling a spine and pass this, obama goes on Mt. Rushmore for overcoming such a load from the TPers and repubs.

    all you jokers forgot that obama won on a platform of healthcare for all americans. he won, you yahoos lost.

    -horse

    March 19, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. welches, oregon

    This is the most egregious, unconstitutional legislation that we can remember.....

    Oh really – I guess their memories are pretty short – how about getting our Country into two illegal and immoral wars - wasn't that against the constitution? Or how about lying about the reason for the wars? What about survellience on normal citizens without a warrant? Nothing unconstitutional about that, huh, GOPeers? Do even remember that?

    This just shows us – ALL OF US – what GOP hacks are really all about – no problem with their Republican president ruining our country and financial system thereby putting normal good law abiding Americans into a tailspin, but boy oh boy when a Democratic President wants to actually do something to help the American people – these wingnuts are opposed to any and everything and will stop at nothing to prevent it (the help)?

    Give me a break – do you think people aren't paying attention, CNN?

    March 19, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. WV Gal

    The "Famiiy Values" party wants to keep you in a situation that you will become bankrupt if you have to have medical treatment for any member of your family. What fine values, break up the family financially, but no insurance protections, no no no no.

    Vote for the bill and watch them have their heart attack.

    I think we need to take away their insurance coverage, being our employees, until we get exactly the same coverage they have.

    March 19, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Robyte

    Democrates are not Christians,

    March 19, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. welches, oregon

    in other words – no matter what's in the bill – they're against it.

    March 19, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. David in Seattle

    The state Republicans want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to be able to kick and scream about health care. But the red states want to make sure they are reimbursed for health care for their unisured. They know this bill will pass. But if the bill were to let states opt out and make the home state responsible for uninsured, to whichever out of state facility they go to, they would be really would be going nuts.

    March 19, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Felly

    These morons are out of date lawyers. How come they have not sued for auto insurance mandate? In fact my car has a better insurance than my helath. The SC Attorney General should spend some time suing Gov. Mark Sanford than wasting his time with threats. You hypocrites!

    March 19, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Brandi from Jacksonville, FL

    To Attorney General McCollum:

    You, sir, are an IDIOT and I am embarrassed that I share the same state with you.
    This is such a waste of our state's resources. It's funny how Republicans have been stating over and over that they are not obstructionists and yet, when this health care bill finally gains ground and has a good chance of passing, here comes the lawsuits. Very interesting!
    I feel that every government official that opposes this bill in any way should be required to give up all the health care entitlements they receive as government employees, and try to get health insurance living paycheck to paycheck, like the rest of us..

    Let's see how well they do!

    March 19, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. Willy Brown

    The whole process Nancy, Harry and Barry are involved in id un constitutional and everyone knows it. If this bill is so good it should have passed a year ago.

    March 19, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. WV Gal

    The "Family Values" party wants to keep you in a situation that you will become bankrupt if you have to have medical treatment for any member of your family. What fine values, break up the family financially, but no insurance protections, no no no no.

    Vote for the bill and watch them have their heart attack.

    I think we need to take away their insurance coverage, being our employees, until we get exactly the same coverage they have.

    March 19, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. SometimesElla

    @Joseph – please provide a link for all of us to this "Obamacare" you speak of. You say people would be forced to buy "Obamacare" please show me the specific plan of which you speak. It sounds like you're referring to one thing, this "Obamacare" one insurance plan, can you show it to us please? I'm sure we'd like to all be as well-informed as you clearly are.

    March 19, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "why didn't they file when car insurance was a mandatory??"

    1. Because driving is a privilidge, not a right. No one forces you to drive a car.
    2. Because most people have loans on their cars, and insurance protects the lienholder. Same as homeownere's insurance – required if you want to get a mortgage.
    3. Because even if you don't have a loan on your car, you may be responsible for damage to someon else's property – or life.

    Any other questions?

    March 19, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Mike

    How any normal sane person cannot see what is going on with this administration and the ever increasing power grab being waged by the Democrats is beyond me.
    It is time to get back to Thomas Jefferson style of government. Let the states worry about themselves and leave the federal government to do what the framers of the Constitution meant for it to do. Handle national defense and international trade. That is the just of it.
    The arrogance of this administration and it's cronies to think they can dictate to private citizens who has to buy health insurance goes beyond reason and borders on treason. They are trying to usurp the authority of the states that was guaranteed by the founding fathers and want to move this country further and further toward a full out federal government run society.
    Welcome back to Marxism and Socialism my friends. Hope you're happy with your choices in the last election because you are about to bear the fruits of your own handy work. And it aint pretty.

    March 19, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Maybe South Carolina wants to start their own Confederacy again. No wonder they want to replace General Grant on our currency. What a divisive activist jerk.

    March 19, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If there was anything in the Constitution against this, the Republicans in the WH would have plastered it in the sky for everybody to see. Therefore, these so-called AG's are wasting tax payers money that the State of Florida and S.C. don't have.

    March 19, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Bob (Illinois)

    South Carolina and Florida. Hmmm. I guess this means we have the constitutional right to be stupid.

    Well, at least South Carolina is in great financial shape. Riiiight!

    March 19, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. JETT2

    Chris1-you are no more than all the other robotic repubs. Do u have to repeat everything over and over and over again. Do any of you guys have minds of your own to speak something different sometimes. Talk about being evil, your party is obsoultely EVIL. These so-called Senate attorneys are just blowing smoke. If they could do something about this, it would have been done already. Just blowing evil smoke to see how may American People they can scare and save you alls sorry butts from drowning your own Party. Your party is definitely headed to crash and burn.

    March 19, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. newliberal

    I have seen the light! I have now declared myself a Liberal. Thats right folks, this independent has decided to take the great example shown by my liberal comrades in arms and declare in one voice "democracy in America is dead" We the Liberals have now taken over and you the disgusting, mostly white, old guys, republicans are now on your road to extinction.

    Like my comrades Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer, and my new god Obama have said, "it isn't about the Process". and any vote is good enough. So, I am calling on my brethren to, by "deem and pass", lets disband the republican party, close down fox news, pass cap and tax, make all immigrants legal now. Also the "Right" to drive-we all have to get there, here, or somewhere and this should be sacrosanct, and as a "right" the Government should provide a vehicle now to everyone that wants one, deem it and pass it. Also again, the "Right" to a home, we all have to have a roof over our head, regardless of if you can pay. So , lets demand our "right" to a free home for all...make it so by deem and pass.

    These cowards in my own party, the democrats, have had a majority and the permission of my new god Obama for 14 months to destroy America as we know it and have been too slow to respond. They are weak, secret capitilist pigs and should probably die, Like my new best friend Sean Penn says "screaming in pain from rectal cancer" or any other disabling, crippling, painful death like flesh eating virus would be good. Lets include my new god Obama, but only after he signs these voteless, err deemed and passed bills, so that I may honor him as a martyr to the "cause".

    I wonder if we can get these things done in time, how long the gravy train can last. I mean can we deem and pass to take some rich peoples homes and businesses? I don't own a business and it is my 'right" to have the same as all in our country. I wonder if we can get a law deemed and passed fast enough if I can claim one of G Soros's homes, bet they are nice.

    My Comrades, I'm sorry, I almost forgot food...It is a "right" for us to eat so everyone should get free vouchers to eat anywhere they like also free, like a coupon, redeemed by the Government. The greedy capitalist pigs will get reimbursed just pennies for the meals provided , but so what, I deserve lobster and caviar like the rich do as do all my liberal comrades. viva viva viva!
    newliberal, doesitmatter, USSA (Sent Friday, March 19, 2010 11:29

    March 19, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. WV Gal

    The "Family Values" party wants to keep you in a situation that you will become bankrupt if you have to have medical treatment for any member of your family. What fine values, break up the family financially, but no insurance protections, no no no no.

    Vote for the bill and watch them have their heart attack.

    Since they are elected and are our employees, I think we need to take away their insurance coverage until we get exactly the same coverage they have. A public option, and all of the good provisions going effective immediately. And this needs to cover those employees that are covered under "self insured" employers so those employees will have the same benefits, no annual maximum and no lifetime maximum.

    March 19, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. Sid

    Terry -
    Just so we're all clear on this - Lincoln was a republican.... and many of those separatists were democrats.

    Don't tell me how all republicans are racists when the only member of the KKK in the senate is a democrat and a very powerful one at that.

    -Sid

    March 19, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. johnnie w

    the GOP CLOWNS ,now have BOGUS attorneys, who live in a BARREL of SNAKES, to FALSELY try FILE a LAWSUIT, on a BILL ,that is CONSTITUTIONAL ,to try and FIRE UP that BASE of MORONS ,called the Republicans, because President Obama, has WON A VICTORY for the American People, even before the VOTE on Sunday. And look where they are going to TRY and FILE this NONSENSE, in SOUTHERN STATES, Idare them to try it, President Obama is a CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER,and would not be that FOOLISH , to Advance a BILL ,if was against the LAW, Yea let those GOP IDIOTS ,file it and the American People see them trying to STOP, Health Care Reform to 32 MILLION AMERICANS. We will see A WAVE of POWER,like we have NEVER seen Before, unleashed on the Party of DOOMERS. The GOP CLOWNS ,have use the Same PROCESS , so much ,it is a JOKE to even THINK about a LAWSUIT, yes go ahead GOP NUT BAGS,your in PANIC MODE,and we Americans are not as DUMB as you LOOK. McMaster should CHANGE his name to, McStupid, the GOP has alot of MORONS ,in that PARTY of CLOWNS. The GOP ,is about to FALL into the GOP ABYSS, Motivated only to try and STOP President Obama from WINNING, that all those NO GUYS do.it wont work this TIME,and yes has has everything to do with POLITICS,and YOU LIE......

    March 19, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Marc

    Cocaine was legal in the USA, then it was made illegal.
    By 48 deifferent states laws (Hawaii and Alaska weren't states at the times) or by one single federal decision?
    Answer: the second option.
    Why? Because FEDERAL laws always supercede STATE laws.

    March 19, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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