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GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FILE MOTION TO DISMISS BRIEF; AG CUCCINELLI VOWS TO FIGHT BACK
by Debra Mullins
(May 26, 2010) — As expected, the Obama regime is challenging the Health Care lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Virginia by VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. On behalf of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Justice officials filed a Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and a Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss just hours before the imposed May 24, 2010 deadline set forth by the Honorable Judge Henry E. Hudson who is presiding over the case.
The original complaint was filed by Mr. Cuccinelli on March 23, 2010, shortly after Mr. Obama signed the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law. Cuccinelli’s petition argues that the new federal law violates the recently-approved Virginia Health Care Freedom Act (VHCFA) which exempts VA residents from the federal mandate to purchase individual health care insurance and any imposed penalties. The VHCFA was signed into law by VA Governor Bob McDonnell on March 24, 2010 and goes into effect on July 1, 2010.
The Commonwealth asserts it has standing to vindicate a sovereign interest in its new statute purporting to exempt Virginians from any federal requirement to purchase health insurance.
A state cannot, however, manufacture its own standing to challenge a federal law by the simple expedient of passing a statute purporting to nullify it. Otherwise, a state could import almost any political or policy dispute into federal court by enacting its side of the argument into state law.
Regime attorneys also contend Congress acted within its authority under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution to regulate health care under the Commerce Clause and dictate its power to tax under General Welfare Clause. The brief also argues:
The “minimum coverage provision” that Virginia challenges here – i.e., the requirement that, with specified exceptions, all Americans who can afford it either maintain a minimum level of health insurance coverage or pay a penalty – is a linchpin of Congress’s reform plan….absence of minimum coverage requirement would “undercut Federal regulation of the health insurance market”. Based on extensive hearings and expert evidence, Congress concluded that requiring the financially able to purchase health insurance would spread risks across a larger pool, which would allow insurers to charge less for coverage… The PPACA merely regulates economic decisions on how to pay for medical services.
Shortly after the Motion to Dismiss and the corresponding brief were filed, VA Attorney General issued a press release in response which in part stated:
The federal government is forcing citizens to buy health insurance, claiming it has the authority to do so because of its power to regulate interstate commerce via the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. We contend that if a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person – by definition – is not engaging in commerce, and should not be subject to a federal mandate,”
Just being alive is not interstate commerce. If it were, there would be no limit to the Commerce Clause and to Congress’s authority to regulate everything we do. If Congress has the power to force Americans to buy health insurance, then there’s nothing to stop Congress from forcing us to buy any product.
The U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause usually allows federal law to trump state law. But if a federal law is found unconstitutional while a conflicting state law is found constitutional, the state law will prevail.
The rest of the press release can found here.
Mr. Cuccinelli also said his office would respond by June 7. The government then has until June 22 to reply to Virginia’s response.
According to the latest Rasmussen Report health care reform poll, 64% of Americans favor the repeal of the PPACA. Prior to this week’s poll, the weekly polling favoring repeal had ranged from 54 – 58% since the bill was signed into law. The May 24 poll shows an eight-point swing over the previous two weeks.