In the wake of the massive health care reform bill passed by the House of Representatives on March 21 and signed into law by President Obama, more than a dozen states have joined in a lawsuit against the U.S. government.
Attorneys general in 12 states have joined a lawsuit filed March 23 by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, according to The New York Times. McCollum, who is running for governor, and 11 of the other attorneys general are Republican. Virginia’s attorney general, also a Republican, has filed a separate challenge.
Officials in those and other states believe the new reform violates state and individual rights
“I made it clear in late December of last year that if the health care bill passed, I would ask you to challenge its constitutionality,” Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) told Reuters. “Any reasonable person experiencing such inaction from a private law firm would have fired that law firm already.”
Some argue that the lawsuits are frivolous. Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.), wrote an amendment into the new reform law which allows states to opt out of the federal individual health insurance mandate and set up their own system.
“Why would you just say you are going to sue everybody, when this bill gives you the authority, and the legal counsel is on record, as saying you can do it without an individual mandate,” Wyden told the Huffington Post.
However, many officials remained concern about the reform and how it will be financed.
“My concern about the federal government’s health care reform is only how do we fund it, because they have shifted the funding from the federal government and said, ‘Hey you, state, we want to cut down on our deficit, so you pick up the difference and you go,’ and it will cost us $3 billion more,” said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R.-Calif.).
Not every state in which officials are displeased with the bill will join the lawsuit. Officials in Kentucky say their state is in too financially strapped to join the fight.
“I’m not going to commit resources of the Office of Attorney General of Kentucky…in a time when in the last couple of years, budget is being cut 26 percent,” Attorney General Jack Conway of Kentucky told Fox 41 in Louisville. “I’m not going to commit the resources of this office to a political stunt.”