Washington women sue state AG over health care challenge

Washington women sue state AG over health care challenge

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[JURIST] More than 90 women filed suit [complaint, PDF] Thursday against Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna [official website] alleging that his opposition to the federal health care law is preventing women from having full access to medical care. The complaint claims McKenna’s participation in a lawsuit against the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder] that is pending before the US Supreme Court [official website] is unethical and in violation of his duties. The complaint alleges that McKenna has submitted pleadings to the court that are contrary to his official position as attorney general:

McKenna’s official position is that it is in the best interest of Washington and its residents for the US Supreme Court to invalidate only the Act’s individual mandate and to allow the remainder of the Act—including its women’s health care components—to stay in effect. Yet, McKenna has submitted pleadings and arguments on behalf of the State asking the US Supreme Court to do precisely the opposite—to invalidate the women’s health care protections and every other provision of the Act. The total invalidation of the ACA would place women’s lives at risk, jeopardize their right to contraception, and force Washington women to pay tens of millions of dollars for contraception and preventive care that they may receive for free under the ACA. Other women would be denied health care under “lifetime caps” that are prohibited by the ACA.

The plaintiffs are seeking an order from the court requiring McKenna to file corrected pleadings in his lawsuit against the heath care act in which he would request that the court uphold the women’s health provisions.

In March the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments [JURIST report] in United States Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida [materials], the suit challenging the PPACA. In January 26 states submitted a brief [JURIST report] to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the expansion of Medicaid for the poor and disabled in the PPACA. Also in January the federal government filed a brief [JURIST report] before the US Supreme Court arguing that the minimum coverage provision of the PPACA, which requires almost every US citizen to obtain health insurance by 2014 or face a tax penalty, is constitutional. The court granted certiorari to rule on health care reform law [JURIST report] in three separate cases last November, reserving five-and-half-hours for oral argument on the issue.