By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In response to the first of many lawsuits challenging ObamaCare, the government has filed a motion asking a federal judge in Virginia to dismiss the state’s suit alleging that Congress oversteps its constitutional bounds in the new health care reform law.
The Associated Press is reporting that the motion was filed in response to a suit filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinell within eight hours of the passage of ObamaCare in March. The suit argues that requiring people to buy health coverage or pay a fee exceeds federal powers limited by the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, and that it violates a Virginia law passed this winter that exempts the state’s residents from this requirement.
In response, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Subelius is calling for dismissal of the suit, alleging that Virginia lacks the standing to sue.
“A state cannot … manufacture its own standing to challenge a federal law by simple expedient of passing a statute purporting to nullify it,” the motion reads. “Otherwise, a state could import almost any political or policy dispute into federal court by enacting its side of the argument into state law.”
Sebelius also asserts that the highly unpopular new health care law is well within the scope of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
“Even if Virginia could surmount this jurisdictional barrier, its claim still would fail because Congress, in adopting the minimum coverage provision, acted well within its authority under the Commerce Clause,” the motion says.
The mandate for most U.S. residents to carry health insurance starting in 2014 is at the heart of the new law’s goal of medical coverage for all, and says without it the new law becomes moot.
Opponents of the bill say this very same requirement, known as the “minimum coverage provision” which allows the government to dictate what individuals and families must purchase, is unconstitutional and tramples basic liberties.
Current polls show 62 percent of Americans in favor of repealing ObamaCare.
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