McCollum: Five Additional States Join Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of Health Care Reform Law

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that five states will join the lawsuit led by Florida challenging the federal Health Care Reform Law. Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona will join Florida and 12 other states in the first lawsuit filed that challenges the new law as unconstitutional.

"We welcome the partnership of Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona as we continue fighting to protect the constitutional rights of American citizens and the sovereignty of our states," said Attorney General McCollum. "On behalf of the residents in Florida and the states joining our efforts, we are committed to aggressively pursuing this lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary to prevent this unprecedented expansion of federal powers, impact upon state sovereignty, and encroachment on our freedom."

The lawsuit, filed in the federal court's Northern District of Florida on March 23, alleges the new law infringes upon the constitutional rights of Floridians and residents of the other states by mandating all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage or pay a tax penalty. By imposing such a mandate, the law exceeds the powers of the United States under Article I of the Constitution. Additionally, the tax penalty required under the law constitutes an unlawful direct tax in violation of Article I, sections 2 and 9 of the Constitution.

The lawsuit further claims the health care reform law infringes on the sovereignty of the states and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution by imposing onerous new operating rules that Florida must follow as well as requiring the state to spend billions of additional dollars without providing funds or resources to meet the state's cost of implementing the law. This burden comes at a time when Florida faces severe budget cuts to offset shortfalls in an already-strained budget.

South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, and South Dakota had previously joined Florida's lawsuit. A scheduling hearing is set for April 14, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. Central Time at the Federal Courthouse in Pensacola.