Almost immediately after President Obama signed the sweeping health care bill into law this week, 14 state attorneys general filed a cause of action in Federal District Court in Florida challenging the law. Among them were Pennsylvania State Attorney General Tom Corbett. Joining him were state attorneys general from Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Colorado and Louisiana. Virgina’s attorney general filed a separate suit in Federal District Court in Virginia. All of the attorneys general were Republicans, with the exception of the attorney general from Louisiana, James Caldwell, a Democrat.
The gist of the lawsuits are that, according to the attorneys general, the new law violates the Constitution by forcing the individual states to act without providing the financial resources to pay for what thew law requires. “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 reads.
Sounds like political posturing to me. That said, whether you agree with the health care law or not, the passage of the health care bill may be one of the most important votes from Washington in our lifetimes. It will have broad changes to how insurance companies do business in this country.
I personally don’t see how the attorneys general; who filed these cases are going to win the day. More problematic, however, is the fact that they are not legislators. What if the majority of the citizens in their individual states like the changes to health care that has now become the law of the land? By challenging the constitutionality of the health care law, are the attorneys general perhaps overreaching their mandate? Did the attorneys general have an obligation to poll the citizens of their states to see where the populace stood on the issue before using taxpayer funds to challenge the law’s constitutionality?