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. My President and Proud of him

    I agree with kmp, "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". I'm sure the health care law does not state this, but I think I'll ask my senator to amend the law and include this statement. What do you say America?

    May 12, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. mat

    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.
    ________
    So your idea is that those who opt out should have to pay for their costs upfront, as well as continue to pay for everyone else, with no benefit for them personally? What if your home insurer told you that you didn't have to have coverage, but you still had to chip in for everyone elses homeowners insurance?

    May 12, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    It's amazing at how many "American Idiots" the fox & fiends can decieve. This is legal and constitutional. Just becuase your supreme leader the Rush (jabba-da-butt) and your celebrities on fox say something in unison doesn't make it true. Sure you have the 27% of the feeble brained American public agreeing with you, but you can't make the rest of believe your bogus facts or history.
    How stupid can you be?

    May 12, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. mat

    "I agree with kmp, "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". I'm sure the health care law does not state this, but I think I'll ask my senator to amend the law and include this statement. What do you say America?"

    I say if you decide to not have coverage, you shouldn't be required to pay any healthcare-related tax as well. Why pay for a benefit you'll never be allowed to claim anyways?

    May 12, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. mat

    It's amazing at how many "American Idiots" the fox & fiends can decieve. This is legal and constitutional. Just becuase your supreme leader the Rush (jabba-da-butt) and your celebrities on fox say something in unison doesn't make it true. Sure you have the 27% of the feeble brained American public agreeing with you, but you can't make the rest of believe your bogus facts or history.
    How stupid can you be?
    _________
    Ok, so explain to us how it's constitutional to mandate the purchase of privately provided product or service as a condition of living in the US? All I read was a rant about Fox, so that argument is pretty weak without any actual facts.

    May 12, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. ZGirl79

    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.

    --------------–

    LOL! I laugh, but it is truly sad that people think this way.

    May 12, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Eric in Denver

    Barry trying to defend the indefensible. This guy is a complete joke let's send a message in November and 2012 that we don't want socialism in this country. For you conspiracy theorists look up the definition of socialism and try to explain the difference.

    May 12, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. as an american

    Serious waste of tax dollars at work by an ignorant coservative law firm. Thanks for wasting my money Thomas More Law Center...I wanted this program

    May 12, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Charles Stoll

    I am serious when I say this. I am a health care provider and am on atleast 15 insurance panels. If you are unwilling to purchase health insurance on the free market and cover you and your loved ones, then you should be denied healthcare when an emergency arises.

    May 12, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. as an american

    Good start and only the beginning..... May 12th, 2010 4:51 pm ET

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

    HA good luck pal....and this whole "One and Done" stuff hahahahaha yea good one. From one of the proud that voted for him and wanted healthcare passed...oh and i already had a company plan anyway...and I wanted it cause i'm just not selfish. oops did i say that.. yup

    May 12, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "The health care industry operates in interstate commerce and there is a long recognized federal interest in its regulation,"

    Uh, the "individual mandate" isn't being applied to the "health care industry," it's being applied to individuals. If this is the best the Administration lawyers can come up with, the individual mandate is gone.

    As well it should be, along with the entire health care welfare idiocy.

    Further, if the Court is honest and open minded, it will come to the (correct) conclusion that since the "interstate commerce" clause was included to keep states from taxing goods being transported across state lines–something the Articles of Confederation didn't address and which was causing a lot of problems, almost coming to open warfare between the states–it doesn't apply to services. Services aren't "transported" and therefore don't fall under the interstate commerce clause.

    May 12, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Whose footing the bill for these lawsuits?
    For all the squawking about our budget by conservatives, they go on this obviously politically motivated fight.
    Like our California governors special election for his reform measures a few years ago, money will be wasted on a futile fight.

    May 12, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. D.

    First they say that health needs care, then the healthcare bill needs more care than health does!
    What a bunch of lawyers as (so called) leaders we have!!!!

    May 12, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. mat

    I am serious when I say this. I am a health care provider and am on atleast 15 insurance panels. If you are unwilling to purchase health insurance on the free market and cover you and your loved ones, then you should be denied healthcare when an emergency arises.
    _______________
    Ever heard of the hippocratic oath?

    May 12, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. stevegee

    Obama and his lawyers can argue all they want, but ObamaCare is unconstitutional on its face!

    It violates everything our Constitution stands for ... freedom and liberty. And We The People will fight to repeal this abomination called ObamaCare.

    May 12, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Uh, the "individual mandate" isn't being applied to the "health care industry," it's being applied to individuals"

    And the decision of those individuals as to whether or not to purchase health care insurance, as a result of the health care delivery and insurance industries operating in interstate commerce, has direct and indirect affects upon interstate commerce. Scalia, one of conservatives' favorite heroes of strict constructionism, is the one who wrote the decision holding that indirect influences and affects on interstate commerce allow the federal government to regulate under the Commerce Clause. Please, go read, get a clue and THEN open your yap.

    May 12, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. John in WV

    How many millions do doctors and hospitals get beat out of each year by people who don't have health insurance? What do they do? They raise the cost of their services to cover their loss. What do the insurance companies do? They raise their premiums to cover their loss. And guess who pays for it. The very people with health insurance who raise hell about health care reform.

    May 12, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  18. Maria H-Miami

    Individuals either pay the IRS the Tax for not having health insurance

    Or individuals pay the insurance company for a health insurance policy.

    Depends which one is cheaper.

    Companies of under 50 employees don't have to offer or pay for employees health insurance policies nor pay a Tax to the IRS.

    I don't see how this will make the Emergency Room expense theory go away as those that choose to pay the Federal Government a Tax instead of buying a health insurance policy will still continue to use the Emergency Room.

    And as I understand it, this Tax will go to those that can't pay a health insurance policy on their own, they have to qualify.

    May 12, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  19. mat

    Whose footing the bill for these lawsuits?
    For all the squawking about our budget by conservatives, they go on this obviously politically motivated fight.
    Like our California governors special election for his reform measures a few years ago, money will be wasted on a futile fight.
    _________
    Who's footing the bill? The majority of taxpayers that were against it to begin with.

    May 12, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  20. Gerry NH

    Please President Obama go and go fast just go away. You are doing everything possible to hurt this country. My wife and I are both on medicare. She went on a physical therapy appointment todays and now cannot get some of the therapy that they want her to have. Medicare payments went up this year and will be 25% in 3 years. I am paying $57.10 more in taxes since January. This is 571 dimes the president promissed would not happen.

    May 12, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. ib

    I hope they lose on every count. This bill should have never passed. Congress went against the will of the majority of people and rammed this thing that will lead to ration healthcare for seniors and higher costs on veveryone down our throats. I will vote against the two Va. senators that voted for this stupid thing when they come up for re-election.

    May 12, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. Steve in North Carolina

    We need do our part and get rid of the career politicians that came up with this so called "health reform bill". The benefit of this bill goes to the insurance companies and drug companies.

    Want better health? Start eating right and working out. It does wonders and it won't bankrupt the nation.

    May 12, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. Rachel

    Umm Cnn maybe I missed the ticker, but where is the post that says CBO majorly icreased the costs of the healtcare reform bill? How can the government make you have something or fine you if you are not a corporation or providing services to anyone? Please don't use the tired everyone has to have car insurance cause thats only if you purchase a car.

    May 12, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. The Big J

    There should be a literacy test for everyone who calls Obama a socialist to describe what socialism really is. For the first time in years I am paying less in taxes. This is not a "drink the koolade" talking point; this is reality. I can't see why any regular person feels the need to stand up for oil, insurance companies, & the Wall Street bankers that in the end give the short end of the stick to the middle class. If you disagree with me, go listen to the nuttines called talk radio. Which should be renamed Scream Radio!

    May 12, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. Chad from Tampa

    So what happens if milions of Americans refuse to have the gov't force this down our throats? They going to throw us all in jail? Oh yeah we get fined... Well what if we refuse to pay the fine? Socialism has no place in this country.

    May 12, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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