May 12th, 2010
04:09 PM ET
4 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. Wanda Brown

    This ridiculous healthcare bill will be promptly and appropriately placed in the shredder by the next POTUS after Obozo is gone and mailed to him in pieces. After November 2010, Obozo's days are numbered. We don't need an idiot president and we don't need an idiot healthcare bill.

    May 12, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. Marc

    '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.'

    Are you saying that people have to buy 50 different health insurance/services because the one you bought (and paid all the premiums/bills and such) only applies to ONE state? That you can't have a medical emergency outside your state or you're... in for a bad time?
    Services aren't 'transported'. True. But one service bought and paid for in one state CAN be valid/used in another.

    May 12, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Issue an injunction - the mandate may not start for 4 years, but the taxes start now. And not just on the productive "rich" workers of this country. Need a stent installed? Soon subject to the medical device tax. And who will pay? Me - not the 49% who pay no federal income tax.

    May 12, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. Meka

    American's are required to have (1) Drivers Lic. (2) Auto Ins.

    Human's are required to have (1) Food (2) Shelter (3) Clothing

    And the Constitution has NOTHING TO DO WITH NEITHER!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    May 12, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Don't want to pay for health insurance? Not a problem. When the ambulance stops to pick you up along side of the road and finds that out, just leave you there to die. Don't expect me to pay for you.

    May 12, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. ehwilson429

    this will go on for 10years.

    that's about how long medicare part "D:" plan will attempt to kick in.
    how many seniors on medicare wil be dead by then?

    May 12, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  7. PrinceOfSnides

    It should be unconstitutional to mandate any citizen be forced to purchase health care against their will, but the SC vote will undoubtedly come down to a 5 -4 decision again.

    I do notice how the liberals supporting Obama do nothing but call names. How unfortunate. The Tea Party will deal with you in November.

    What is idiotic is the argument that this health care provision is the same as states mandating auto insurance. They are not the same. States do not force you to buy auto insurance if you do not drive and when you do, they only force you to buy liability coverage to protect those you may harm in an accident. You are not required to buy insurance to protect yourself or your car.

    and to as an american, you are selfish. Your attitude that you want health care and therefore everyone should pay highers taxes so you get your way is very selfish.

    May 12, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. Bill Haverly

    The Obama administration will sue its own people to defend a trash health care takeover. Won't work, jerks! You're all outta there in Nov and the rest of you in 2012. The conservative congress will not appropriate money for your takeover/control schemes, fools.

    May 12, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. John Williams

    Extending the arguement that the government has the right to regulate interstate commerce, you could rationalize that the government can mandate every American to buy a GM car every year. Such an arguement is rediculous.

    May 12, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
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