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

Two state attorneys general ready to file lawsuit on health care

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Obama Victim

    and yet another starnd of out tolerant friends on the left involved in nmae calling and personal attacks..aren't you all pround?? by the way, might ant to check out that tenth amendment

    March 19, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    As well they should!

    March 19, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Henry from NC

    I spell for crap, MANDATING

    March 19, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. AK Steve

    "Rich White Male Lawyer Sues to Stop Middle Class From Getting Affordable Health Care. Insurance Companies Applaud Lawsuit as "Fighting For the American People."

    Amazing how the GOP wraps themselves in the constitution as they take away our liberties (think Patriot Act) and right to affordable health care.

    March 19, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Henry Miller, you are wrong. Drugs are trafficked over state lines and through use of the instrumentalities of interstate commerce.

    That being said, legalize it!

    March 19, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. grumu

    These idiot open loch lawyers will be defeated for the might of people is unturnable. You could cry like Wolf Blitz and other racists such as stein house from CNN and can burst to your hanging into the Bridge

    March 19, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. norwalkpa

    Don't let up – make insurance, wall street, and corporations pay for the ruin of our country. Dems need to grow a pair, Repubs need to die off and take their tea party cheerleaders with them.

    People over corporations. Should be a no-brainer.

    seems simple...doesn't it? well...not until that corporation fires your liberal-butt! Ruined the country? My God you idiots will believe anything you're told.

    March 19, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. We the People....

    Good! I am glad they are doing this! I am tired of this administration trying to shove this bill down the throats of Americans when this will clearly only benefit 10% or less of the citizens of this country. This so called reform should be taken carefully and look at what is working and what is not and then take each item individually!

    As an AMERICAN CITIZEN I resent that this administration is pushing its agend onto folks who clearly don't want it!

    All the backroom deals are disgusting and it is sad that the votes of the represesntatives of those who were elected by us common folk are being bought!

    I will vote against every single one I can! They are not looking out for the best interest of the citizens of this country ~ only for themselves and that is not what our founding fathers intended for this country!

    Health Care is not a right guaranteed by the constitution!


    March 19, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Rickster

    Obama grew up in a third-world foreign country. He has no respect for the U.S. Constitution or the traditions and legalities of our government.

    Thanks alot democrats for sticking us with this community organizer clown for 4 years.

    March 19, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Tammy

    Hey, those attorney generals have good health care, and can afford the best. What, me worry, Jack? The hell with the little people.

    March 19, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Clint, Wa.

    You Republicans make me sick, its your fault & that is why I need health care.

    March 19, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. LacrosseMom

    Oh my goodness!!! The Conservatives are SO AFRAID!!

    The comments about "give our Country back!" ........ Dear God!

    The United States has had government run Healthcare since the 1940's when the Veteran's Healthcare System was established! Our Veterans get excellent care!

    Plus....... CONGRESS....... has government run healthcare! Medicare, Medicaid........... Social Security!


    Read the FACTS.

    March 19, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Center left-out

    What a waste of tax payers monies. Did these clowns file a lawsuit for mandated car insurance. No!

    March 19, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. John P

    Carole – race once again? I take it you are non-white? Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, I am.

    March 19, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Gary

    Hey McMaster, you wanna sue someone. take a look at your Govenor. He's costing your state more than any government program.
    SC = Stupid Leaders. DeMint, Graham, Sanford and this fool McMaster
    Wilson and on and on. The laughing stock of the country.

    March 19, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Tram

    So many sheeple followed the GOP party line for so long, they honestly can't believe it when intelligent individuals make decisions. Bush was guilty of so many crimes, but not one of them said boo against him. Obama is doing everything he can to make life better for Americans (and President Obama has proven he loves America, unlike his predecessor), and all these sheeple can do is baa and bleat and lie and say that the president is guilty of something they KNOW Bush was guilty of.

    Don't they realize that the crimes they say the president is committing is a flat out lie? Bush committed these crimes. He's the one who destroyed America. He's the one who violated the Constitution. He's the one who lied to American public (but only the sheeple seemed to believe him). Grow up, sheeple. Grow brain cells. Intelligence and good will and love of country is back in the White House and on Main Street.

    March 19, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. LacrosseMom

    "RETURN this Country Back to the Rightful Owners" and that means ??? Socialistic Governments that we fought to break from and form our Independance... Again if you don't like what OUr for fathers created for us... GO TO ANOTHER COUNTRY AND SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT
    Dear James, why are you SO afraid? WE ARE the OWNERS of our Nation, right along with you! The majority of Americans voted for President Obama in a legal and Constitutional election. You poor man, and I mean that. The Conservatives have always shouted "communism!" or "socialism!" When they do not like something!


    March 19, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Henry from NC

    Steve, please list one liberty that has been taken away from you??

    March 19, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. Guest

    black, white, red or yellow. Male, female, rich or poor this health care reform sucks......I struggle enough in middle class to take care of my own....why should I pay for this.

    To anyone who brings race into every single freakin conversation....get a life....better yet an education. The race card is old.

    March 19, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Sniffit: Its not a "right" to drive and license a car. Specific municipalities require that you provide proof of insurance before they will license your vehicle."

    Who said it was? Owning and driving a car is NOT a right and neither is health care. If you want to really draw the analogy out, then the GOPer position is as follows:

    "You should only be forced to buy car/health insurance if you CHOOSE to have a care/obtain health care."

    Simple, right? Except the need for health care is not a choice and that fact is borne out every single day in this country when ER's perform even rudimentary medical care for people who are uninsured by choice or due to their circumstance...and it's costing the rest of us trillions.

    BTW, why the GOP is suddenly all concerned about the American public's right to choose whether they do this or that is beyond me. This bill contains only ONE explicit medical care decision the gov't is making for you: no abortion. Granted, it was Stupak's provision that got voted in, but the GOPers made a fuss over it. And if you believe that the GOP isn't planning to demand that people who are on the subsidy be removed from it if they have an abortion that they pay for themselves, then you're an idiot. I can see the argument now: "if they have the money for an abortion, they should've spent it on their insurance instead." Crass, selfish religiots.

    March 19, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Dan, NJ

    Waste of taxpayer money. Commerce clause clearly gives Congress the power to regulate health insurance.

    The ridiculous part is that slippery Republicans will flop from the lie that this bill gives the government control of 1/6 of the economy to the false claim that Congress doesn't have the power to regulate health insurance because it doesn't affect interstate commerece.

    March 19, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. jm for sc

    I am from the racist state of South Carolina. They were angry every since President Obama was elected. It was a dead silence every where on November 5, 2008 as they tried to pretend the election didn't happen. They thing Palin is smart!!!

    Don't be shocked at anything S.C. does. They had a 100 year old Republican senator in office trying to make history at tax payers expense. This is a Republican state so they could get off with it. They fought to keep the confederate flag flying on our state house. It was a time to get it down.

    All of a sudden after Sanford was exposed, they understood adultery. You talk about an unequal opportunity state. The selected our dumb attorney general because he is from a state where he will be elected if he runs on a Republican ticket.

    I am really ashamed of SC.

    March 19, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "this will clearly only benefit 10% or less of the citizens of this country."

    Yeah, because slowing downt he out of control inflation of health insurance costs doesn't benefit anyone. And that $130B reduction in the deficit over teh first 10 years and $1.2T reduction over teh 10 years after that?? No benefit to that whatsoever.

    March 19, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Scott

    @ Mike: "People don't die because they don't have health insurance.
    It is a law that any hospital must treat any individual who comes into their emergency room irregardless of their ability to pay."

    I know of no emergency room that treats cancer patients with chemotherapy and through other costly measures just because they don't have insurance. Do you?

    March 19, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. jake

    where were these idiots when bush and chenny was destorying our constitution?

    March 19, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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