April 7th, 2010
06:47 PM ET
13 years ago

Five states join lawsuit against health care bill

(CNN) - Five more states - Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona - on Wednesday joined 13 others in a lawsuit against the historic overhaul of the U.S. health care system signed into law last month by President Barack Obama, the Texas attorney general announced.

The lawsuit initially filed by Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota and Washington argues that the legislation's requirement that individuals buy health insurance violates the Constitution.

It calls the health care bill an "unprecedented encroachment on the sovereignty of the states" and asks a judge to block its enforcement.

"The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit states.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said last month that the Obama administration expected to win any legal challenge to the health care bill.

Legal experts say the lawsuit is unlikely to succeed.

Renee Landers, a law professor at Suffolk University in Massachusetts, said the Constitution gives Congress broad power to regulate commerce and promote the general welfare of Americans.

"If the federal courts follow existing precedents of the United States Supreme Court, I don't think that the claims will be successful," Landers told CNN last month.

Separately, legislatures in three dozen states are considering proposed measures aimed at blocking elements of the health care bill. But Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas, said the Constitution says laws passed by Congress trump state laws.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. T'SAH from Virginia

    "If the federal courts follow existing precedents of the United States Supreme Court, I don't think that the claims will be successful," Landers told CNN last month."

    Ask Governor McDonnell of VA – he said that his fees only cost them $350 to file!!!!!!! So maybe all of these other states can follow suit and tell the American people in their state that the lawsuit would not cost the taxpayers no more than $$ for the filing fee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is a waste of the taxpayer's money and I dont' see how a state can get away with what they are doing if not all in the state agrees!!!

    April 7, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. anotherGDlefty

    What a surprise.

    More republican governors on the train to nowhere.

    Please governors, listen to your AG's, this train ain't leavin' the station.

    April 7, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. phoenix86

    Repeal Obamacare. Then press criminal charges against Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Fraud is illegal, as is theft; and Obamacare does both.

    April 7, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. please

    "The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit states.

    Commerce Clause, look it up.

    April 7, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. phoenix86

    Perhaps Professor Jilson should read the constitution again. I believe it says that powers not granted (in the constitution) to the federal government belong to the States.

    Liberals keep trying to forget the original "pesky" Bill of Rights on their dash to the Socialist State.

    April 7, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Jim in San Mateo

    There are lots and lots of mandates by both federal and state governments, not the least of which is the mandate to buy automobile insurance. These state officials can posture all they want, but 34 million new voters for the party that cares about people rather than corporations is an awfully big voting block.

    Besides, would you give up your health insurance to make sure that Mr. health insurance CEO gets his 100 million dollar bonus? Try running on that slogan.

    April 7, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Matt

    What a bunch of morons.

    April 7, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. Debby

    What! I hope those states get NO health care.

    April 7, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. Eric

    Unbelievable. Granted, there are some dents to work out of this new health reform, but republicans wanting to shoot it dead because, heaven forbid, they didn't get their own way makes me ashamed to be American!

    April 7, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  10. Eric Driggers

    I really need someone to explain to me the problem with all of America's people having healthcare. Our Constitution was written "For the People." So why is it a problem that Obama wants to ensure tha all of Americas people have healthcare. I think this lawsuit is bogus. Its an unwillingness to change, even though change was the very theme we voted Barack Obama into office for. Its been a long time coming, but I know that change is going to come.

    April 7, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  11. Al Sween

    This is what happens when people support "Universal Healthcare" and do not know all of the terms of the law. It sounds great if it is truly universal and truly affordable but mandating all citizen to buy something that they can't afford already is ridiculous.

    April 7, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  12. MikeH

    Since Obama is a Constitutional Scholar, it would be surprising for him to sign a bill that wasn't grounded in Constitutional precedent.

    Tht said, if he loses, it may be because the Republican arm of the Supreme Court is playing dirty, and it won't go well for the country.

    April 7, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Carey in Florida

    Wow! Such defiancy and determination to convict the president at all cost.

    April 7, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Angi's mom

    It's insane that our tax dollars (which is mandated) are paying for these frivolous law suits...paying for both plaintiff AND defendant. The amount of money it's going to cost the tax payers to pursue these cases and appeals and more appeals will be obscene.

    April 7, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  15. Dianne

    If health care is unconstitutional, then let us get rid of all forms of medicare and medicaid. Everyone pay their own. The very people out there using these social benefits complaining about socialism, then go it alone. Many tea partiers enjoy these socialistic benefits but want to deny Americans their health care. They donot like socialism, then donot accept any social benefits. For those who donot want to pay anything, it is not my responsiblity to pay your medical and mine. With this bill you pay something, how is this unfair?

    April 7, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. Capri

    I think this lawsuit is insane. All citizens should have health insurance. This is the reason so many people are dying early. They dont go to the doctor because they dont have insurance. This way they will at least go for check ups.

    April 7, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  17. Aaron

    Part of what makes this nation great is that its states can choose not to enforce anything that isn't directly part of the Constitution itself, in addition to appealing the law on a judicial level, no matter what Cal Jillson says.

    April 7, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |

    I hope they succeed so that it can revamped and done right. I would rather have a single payer plan and more access to clinics that handle simple cold and infections and minor injuries than this bs for private insurer`s that congress has passed

    April 7, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. Richard-Arkansas

    The Justice Department should also ask for court and government costs to be paid by the losing state AG's.

    Ask us Arkansans about how well this approach worked in 1957. Does 101st Airborne ring a bell?

    April 7, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  20. Mickey, NY

    If they want to file a lawsuit, fine... then the feds should cut off any and all federal aid to these states. If they are so against what they perceive is "government-run health care", I say we cut off all the other truly government-run handouts as well....

    You can't have it both ways...even Boehner the tantrum thrower knows this by now, as does any toddler.

    April 7, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  21. Perusing-through

    What is in common with the following states:
    – – Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona?

    All these states have a high number of hardworking citizens with no healthcare coverage or inadequate coverage; however, they all use the 'so-call free' hospital medical emergency as part of their healthcare plan.

    And guess who pay for all the people using emergency care from the five states above? YOU and ME PAY!

    April 7, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    These states are being misled as most people are misled because they can't read or don't understand the "fine" print. They're not smart people, President Obama is no GWB who walked all over the Constitution. I've always know these ivy league Republican guys were just given diplomas without being tested knowing they would fail.

    April 7, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  23. Courtney lancaster Wimberly

    This is not what I elected my representatives for.

    April 7, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  24. Common Sense

    Where is Arkansas' lawsuit? Arkansan's realize that the states are going to pick up the tab for this legislation whether we can afford it or not. That's why a majority of Arkansan's overwhelming rejected this healthcare plan.

    Why are we not being represented in this lawsuit? Wait until Novemember, and our voices will be heard.

    5 out of 6 (representatives) in AR are democrats right now. Marion Berry (retiring), Vic Snyder (retiring), Blanche Lincoln (down by double digits). Arkansas will elect all Republicans except one. We have figured out that conservative democrats really don't exist. The democratic party has been hijacked by socialists.

    Former Democrat

    April 7, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  25. Michael from Ventura

    Good luck with that tactic loonies! If you read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights perhaps you wouldn't be so zealous in your attempt to prevent Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness- and you would read that ALL American have an inalienable right....Don't go away angry, just go away!

    April 7, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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