May 12th, 2010
04:09 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama administration begins legal defense of health care law

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration has launched its first legal defense of the new health care law, insisting the federal government has the power to force citizens to have health insurance.

"The health care industry operates in interstate commerce and there is a long recognized federal interest in its regulation," said a legal brief filed in federal court in Detroit, Michigan, by the Justice Department.

The government response was made in a lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Law Center, a Michigan-based law firm involved in conservative issues. The case names President Barack Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Attorney General Eric Holder as defendants.

The government also argues that apart from the constitutional merits, an injunction to block the law from being implemented should not be granted because the provision requiring insurance coverage does not go into effect until January 1, 2014.

Legal briefs similar to the 46-page document filed in Detroit are likely to begin appearing in other federal courts where the law is under attack for requiring every citizen to purchase health insurance.

Several state governments have joined a lawsuit filed in Florida that makes similar claims - that Congress lacks the authority to mandate individuals to participate in an insurance plan. Many states have also challenged the federal requirement for states to extend coverage to more low-income residents without funding the additional cost.


Filed under: Health care • Justice Department
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Willy Brown

    Good luck trying to defend an illegal law Barry

    May 12, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Capt. Snarky

    The should name every congresscritter that voted for that abomination as defendants also.

    They're all parasites......

    May 12, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Go President Obama!!

    Thanks for doing this - sorry you have to waste your time fighting against these idiots.

    May 12, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Wisconsinite

    It's great that you all (Willy Brown & Capt. Snarky) to name a couple are so happy to defend the waste of tax-payer money in the states that are filing lawsuits against perfectly LEGAL federal law! I, however, am really glad to be living in a state full of people SMARTER than you!

    May 12, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Manny

    I am sure a plethora of scumbag lawyers are ready to protect Obama's healthcare bill that will only be another massive entitlement program bleeding our country dry.

    May 12, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    A waste on money and time for all of us to have a legal defense of the new health care law. Because people must have car, house, boat, if you life insurance and if you fly you can buy dealh insurance. What wrong with buying health insurance for yourself. instead of working American paying your Health Care through the Emergency Room Care or if you are young and health now I don't need it. The insurance company are going get the money anyway. People you have to invest in yourself by going to the doctor early don't wait until you get sick.

    May 12, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Good start and only the beginning.....

    states are opting out of Obamacare left and right....we'll bring this thing down one way or another..................Obama is ONE and DONE.

    May 12, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. GANDY

    Let the courts decide. I trust our system enough to let it do its work.

    Let's face it – anonymous shouting on the internet isn't really going to sway the Supremes, is it?

    May 12, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Ben

    Wisconsonite – "It's great that you all (Willy Brown & Capt. Snarky) to name a couple are so happy to defend the waste of tax-payer money in the states that are filing lawsuits against perfectly LEGAL federal law! I, however, am really glad to be living in a state full of people SMARTER than you!"

    Have you ever read the Constitution? Apparently not. If you had, you would know that you CANNOT require the purchase of a good or service as a condition of lawful residence in this country. Don't believe me? Look it up.

    This monstrosity of a healthcare bill is BLATANTLY unconstitutional and if you can't see that then that says something about the educational level of you and the people in your state.

    May 12, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Eric

    "The health care industry operates in interstate commerce..."

    Um, NO, it does NOT... and THAT is the problem.

    If it DID actually operate in interstate commerce, catastrophic medical insurance would be no more price prohibitive than auto insurance, homeowners's insurance, renters' insurance or flood insurance.

    Good luck defending this unconstitutional law in court.

    And for those saying, "Duhh, (sniff), wellll... uh... it's the law that you have to have auto insurance and that's not unconstitutional." Actually, you are not required to have auto insurance... you're only required to have it *IF* you intend to drive on that particular state's roads (it is not a federal law, rather a state law)... and even with that, different states have different laws regarding auto insurance.

    As for Kommrade Obama's Helf-Kare law, it requires you to have medical insurance just because you're alive. The only way to avoid this law or its fine for noncompliance is simply to die.

    This is the first time, to my recollection and research, the federal government has ever mandated citizens engage in interstate commerce or face a fine. This will fail at the Supreme Court.

    May 12, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    Regardless of which way the lawsuit goes, the health care law will still be a bad idea; too expensive for the country when we are already swimming in record levels of debt; too expensive for working citizens who will end up paying much more for health care; and a lousy deal for American Health Care because it will do nothing to increase the quality of care. Who wins? I guess the Democrats think they won because they pulled so many shenannigans to get it pushed through. I guess we will find out in November.

    May 12, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. jon

    Maybe they will sue to stop that other insurance program.Social Security.

    May 12, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. My President and Proud of him

    This is what I love about my President, so proactive! I am sorry that this has to be done, but I'm so happy that it is being done. Thank you Mr. President :)

    May 12, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Hammerer

    How is that new insurance working out for you?
    The insurance companies really like it! What with an unlimited source of new customers required to purchase insurance and no limits on the price they are set to make trillions. Government leaders probably are in for a cut of the profits (back room deals).
    But with that new job that Obama created or saved for you money is no object. LOL.

    May 12, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. JES

    Obama you are wrong to try and ram this down our throats.

    If a person doesn't want insurance you can't force them to get it. You are starting to sound more like a dictator everyday.

    May 12, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. neonmadman

    So hammerer sounds like you want to stymie the free market capitalism of the insurance companies. Socialist, Fascist shame on you.

    May 12, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Conservative Democrat

    "Have you ever read the Constitution? Apparently not. If you had, you would know that you CANNOT require the purchase of a good or service as a condition of lawful residence in this country. Don't believe me? Look it up."
    -------------------------------
    Then explain to us, Einstein, how they CAN require everyone who owns a car to have insurance. Personally, I don't think that they should force people to buy health insurance. I do think that once the Healthcare Bill is fully enacted, the following rule should apply: You should buy health insurance, but we are not going to force you to. However, if you need to to a doctor, or a hospital, you must pay in advance for your proceedure. The American people will no longer foot the bill for you."

    May 12, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Tulsa

    Ben, the law doesn't say you must purchase anything.
    You will be taxed for your use of the health care system if you do not have insurance.

    States opting out.... Know what that means? The Federal government will run the insurance pool in that state. So, by opting out, the state relinquishes it's control and it's responsibility, but you will still have to have insurance.

    It would pay for you lame brains to READ once and a while.

    May 12, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. Caesar the Great

    To Wisconsinite. First any self respecting person from Wisconsin would never refer to themselves that way. And Second, how is it legal for the government to force people to purchase a product. What if the government required everyone to buy an HDTV, would that be legal too?

    May 12, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Bill

    Those are the most simple minded arguments I've seen. Why doesn't the Justice Dept. just say, "Oh Yeah?"

    May 12, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. trish

    Much thanks to you President Obama for doing what`s right for the people...all of the people.Thank you not doing what`s popular but what is right and for fullfilling your campaign promises. Some people are always going to fight against you but it really isn`t because what you are doing is wrong but it is simply because they hate you.Not to worry about them because those same people live a parasidic life,they do whatever they see others do,not to mention the fact they hate themselves also.They`re only true love is money that they can get by any means necessary and as they obtain it they are still hate filled.It`s like a cancer that spreads and metastasizes and eventually consumes them.And what is more important to say is that Obama is only the President of the United States,if you don`t like it there are many other places where you can go live.Remember that when you go carry your hatred with you.We don`t need it or you.

    May 12, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. mat

    "Have you ever read the Constitution? Apparently not. If you had, you would know that you CANNOT require the purchase of a good or service as a condition of lawful residence in this country. Don't believe me? Look it up."
    -----------
    Then explain to us, Einstein, how they CAN require everyone who owns a car to have insurance. Personally, I don't think that they should force people to buy health insurance. I do think that once the Healthcare Bill is fully enacted, the following rule should apply: You should buy health insurance, but we are not going to force you to. However, if you need to to a doctor, or a hospital, you must pay in advance for your proceedure. The American people will no longer foot the bill for you."
    _______
    Easy. It's not a requirement as a condition of being a US citizen to own and drive a car on public roads. Also, the insurance mandate is a state issue, not a federal mandate. Thirdly, drivers are only required to have liability insurance to cover others, not themselves, as a public safety issue, which is the exact opposite of a personal health insurance mandate.
    Every time someone makes the auto insurance argument, they're really making the argument AGAINST Obamacare, for those listed reasons.

    May 12, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. kmp

    I think I liked what another poster said, if you don't want this fine. But if you do get sick or hurt and have no insurance that you should be required to pay upfront before you get care. This way you can say you stuck it to the man (government), but we the taxpayers don't get footed with your bill.

    May 12, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. John D

    Healthcare will be overturned for the piece of crap legislation it is. The price tag will only continue to go up as the weeks go by. The government and OBOZO in particular have not a clue how to do anything correctly. It all has to masked in 2700 hundred pages of pure trash! Socialist jerks!

    May 12, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Lorie Liberty

    I think everyone in congress needs to be tested on the constitution and if you get less than 90% you are out! the people in office are lawyers who don't care about you or I, but rather lining their pockets and their children's future's with your American dream!

    May 12, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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