Attorney General Bill McCollum News Release
May 14, 2010
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
McCollum Files Amended Complaint Challenging Health Care Reform Act
~ Seven states, National Federation of Independent Businesses added as plaintiffs ~
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced the filing of an amended complaint in the lawsuit challenging the federal health care reform act. The amended complaint now features 20 state plaintiffs; additionally, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) joined the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff on behalf of its members nationwide.
The original lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S. Department of Labor on March 23, 2010, minutes after the health care reform act was signed into law by President Obama.
“We firmly believe the government has exceeded its constitutional authority and we are prepared to do anything in our power to protect the people from irresponsible and unconstitutional actions by the federal government,” said Attorney General McCollum. “As today’s filing indicates, our challenge continues to gain support.”
The individual mandate directly affects NFIB and its members by requiring those individuals to obtain health care or pay a penalty, giving NFIB a distinct basis to represent its individual members and join the lawsuit. The seven states who formally joined the lawsuit today are Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and Alaska.
“Small business owners everywhere are rightfully concerned that the unconstitutional new mandates, countless rules and new taxes in the health care law will devastate their business and their ability to create jobs. They are also concerned about their personal freedoms,” said Dan Danner, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business. “This law is the first time the federal government has required individuals to purchase something simply because they are alive. If Congress can regulate this type of inactivity, then there are essentially no limits to what they can mandate individuals to do.”
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of Florida on March 23, alleges that the new law infringes upon the constitutional rights of Floridians and residents of the other states by mandating all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage or pay a tax penalty. By imposing such a mandate, the law exceeds the powers of the United States under Article I of the Constitution. Additionally, the tax penalty required under the law constitutes an unlawful direct tax in violation of Article I, sections 2 and 9 of the Constitution.
The lawsuit further claims the health care reform law infringes on the sovereignty of the states and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution by imposing onerous new operating rules that Florida must follow as well as requiring the state to spend billions of additional dollars without providing funds or resources to meet the state's cost of implementing the law. This burden comes at a time when Florida faces severe budget cuts to offset shortfalls in an already-strained budget.
Under the new law, Florida will be required to vastly broaden its Medicaid eligibility standards to accommodate upwards of 50 percent more enrollees, many of whom would be required to enroll or face a tax penalty. Florida’s Medicaid program currently consumes more than a quarter of the State’s financial outlays.
A copy of the amended lawsuit is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/JFAO-85FNM9/$file/Complaint.pdf