Thursday, March 25, 2010
|Opposition reacts to healthcare reform law
Texas mandated to spend $24 billion to expand Medicaid coverage as result of HR 3590
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKETexans are howling over the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Sunday, and the Presidents signing it into law Tuesday.
H.R. 3590 passed with a 219-212 vote, with all Republican representatives opposing the action.
A few pro-life Democratic opponents, led by Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, were won over in the final hours of debate after President Barack Obama promised to issue an executive order to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services.
Stupak said the order would protect the sanctity of life in health care reform.
Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott wasted no time before announcing his joining with other states in denouncing it. The first state to do so was Idaho.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed a law March 17 (before HR 3590s passage) requiring the state attorney general to file a suit against it.
Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and 12 state attorneys general filed legal action challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted federal health care law.
The legal challenge charges the new law infringes upon Americans constitutionally-protected individual liberties; encroaches upon the states constitutionally guaranteed sovereignty; forces states to spend billions of additional dollars on entitlement programs; imposes an unconstitutional tax; and violates the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Under the new law, for the first time in the nations history, the federal government is attempting to force individual Americans to enter into contracts and purchase services from private companies in this case, insurance companies or face a penalty, Abbott said.
The state attorneys general are challenging this so-called individual mandate requirement, because it exceeds Congress authority and violates Americans constitutional rights, he added.
Additionally, the states are challenging provisions of the new law that will impose dramatic Medicaid spending increases on the states, including more than $24 billion in mandatory spending increases in the State of Texas, alone, Abbott said.
The suit was filed in Pensacola, with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum leading the lawsuit.
In addition to Texas, he is joined by Republican attorneys general from South Carolina, Nebraska, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, Colorado and Louisiana (except James Caldwell of Louisiana is a Democrat).
The lawsuit was filed just seven minutes after Obama signed the 10-year $938 billion bill into law.
(However, HR 3590 was immediately amended by a second bill of fixes in the form of a companion bill, also approved Sunday by the House, and expected to be passed by the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority next week.)
McCollum charges the bill will cause substantial harm and financial burden to the states.
He predicts expanding Floridas Medicaid rolls will cost the state an additional $150 million in 2014, growing to $1 billion a year by 2019.
We simply cannot afford to do the things in this bill that were mandated to do, McCollum said at a press conference after filing the suit. He said Medicaid expansion in Florida will cost $1.6 billion.
The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage, the lawsuit states.
Tuesday, legislators forming the Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC) announced that they will file legislation rejecting the bill, due to the impact and costs it will have on the state and its citizens.
I view this act to be unconstitutional and a power grab by the Pelosi/Reid group. It is devastating to all Texans who have overwhelmingly voiced their concerns and received a slap in the face from Congress, State Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) stated in a press release Monday.
Virginia filed its own lawsuit Tuesday and still others may join the multi-state suit.
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