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John Suthers, twelve other attorneys general, team up to kill health-care law: Read the lawsuit

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Yesterday afternoon, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced that he would be joining "nearly a dozen" fellow AGs across the country in suing to stop the just-signed health-care law from taking effect.

Since then, the number of bandwagon-jumpers has grown to thirteen total, including one Democrat -- Louisiana's James D. "Buddy" Caldwell.

The lawsuit itself was filed in Florida, with Bill McCollum, who -- surprise! -- is running for governor in the state, taking the lead role. The document argues that the new law violates the Constitution's first article and Tenth Amendment in a variety of ways that are spelled out in detail. Click here to read the entire suit, or look below to read a de facto synopsis, which contends that the health-care act "represents an unprecedented encroachment on the liberty of individuals living in the Plaintiffs' respective states." Including this one.


1. On March 23, 2010, a new universal healthcare regime, titled the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," H.R. 3590 (the Act), was signed into law by the President. The Act, which exceeds 2,400 pages, is available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3590pp.txt.pdf (accessed March 23, 2010).

2. The Act represents an unprecedented encroachment on the liberty of individuals living in the Plaintiffs' respective states, by mandating that all citizens and legal residents of the United States have qualifying healthcare coverage or pay a tax penalty. The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying healthcare coverage. By imposing such a mandate, the Act exceeds the powers of the United States under Article I of the Constitution and violates the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.

3. In addition, the tax penalty required under the Act, which must be paid by uninsured citizens and residents, constitutes an unlawful capitation or direct tax, in violation of Article I, sections 2 and 9 of the Constitution of the United States.

4. The Act also represents an unprecedented encroachment on the sovereignty of the states. For example, it requires that Florida vastly broaden its Medicaid eligibility standards to accommodate upwards of 50 percent more enrollees, many of whom must enroll or face a tax penalty under the Act, and imposes onerous new operating rules that Florida must follow. The Act requires Florida to spend billions of additional dollars, and shifts substantial administrative costs to Florida for, inter alia, hiring and training new employees, as well as requiring that new and existing employees devote a considerable portion of their time to implementing the Act. This onerous encroachment occurs at a time when Florida faces having to make severe budget cuts to offset shortfalls in its already-strained budget, which the state constitution requires to be balanced each fiscal year (unlike the federal budget), and at a time when Florida's Medicaid program already consumes more than a quarter of the State's financial outlays. Plaintiffs cannot effectively withdraw from participating in Medicaid, because Medicaid has, over the more than four decades of its existence, become customary and necessary for citizens throughout the United States, including the Plaintiffs' respective states; and because individual enrollment in Plaintiffs' respective Medicaid programs, which presently cover tens of millions of residents, can only be accomplished by their continued participation in Medicaid.

5. Further, the Act converts what had been a voluntary federal-state partnership into a compulsory top-down federal program in which the discretion of the Plaintiffs and their sister states is removed, in derogation of the core constitutional principle of federalism upon which this Nation was founded. In so doing, the Act exceeds the powers of the United States and violates the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.

6. The Act contains several unfunded mandates that will cost state governments significantly.

7. For example, no Florida government entity or infrastructure exists to discharge sufficiently all of the responsibilities that will be necessary to implement the Act, to meet requirements related to increases in Medicaid enrollment under the Act, and to operate healthcare insurance exchanges required by the Act.

8. By making federal funds potentially available at the discretion of federal agencies, the Act acknowledges the immediate burden on Plaintiffs to invest and implement the Act, but provides no guarantee that they will receive such funds or that the Act's implementation costs will be met.

9. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief against the Act's operation to preserve their respective sovereignty and solvency, and to protect the individual freedom, public health, and welfare of their citizens and residents.

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