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Texas AG: 5 more states to join health care lawsuit

[JURIST] Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott [official website] announced Wednesday that five additional states will join [press release] in a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [HR 3590 materials]. The five states - Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada, and Arizona - will join 13 other states [JURIST report] in a legal battle that began last month 23 when the complaint seeking an injunction and declaratory relief was filed in a Florida federal court. Abbott commented on the impact of the inclusion of additional states and voiced his concern over the potential effects the health care legislation will have on Texas and the US:

No public policy goal - no matter how important or well-intended - can be allowed to trample the protections and rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The federal health care legislation violates our Constitution, imposes an unprecedented mandate on individual Texans, and will require the Texas taxpayers to spend billions of additional dollars on health care programs. The addition of five new states to our bipartisan legal challenge reflects broad, nationwide concern about the constitutionality of this sweeping and unprecedented federal legislation.

The other states involved in the suit are Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, and Idaho.

Among the allegations in the suit are violations of Article I and the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, committed by levying a tax without regard to census data, property, or profession, and for invading the the sovereignty of the states. The plaintiffs also assert that the law should not be upheld under the commerce clause. Last month, Idaho Governor CL Otter signed a bill [JURIST report] barring the federal mandate to purchase health insurance. Virginia Governor Bob McDonald has indicated that he will sign a similar bill [JURIST report] recently passed by the Virginia legislature. President Barack Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act [JURIST report] into law last week, which addressed concerns raised by the original bill, including provisions to help uninsured Americans pay for coverage, concerns over the effects to Medicare, and lowering the penalty for not buying insurance.

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