Calif. Attorney General Joins High Court Brief Supporting Reform Law
On Friday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) joined a dozen other attorneys general in filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the federal health reform law, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports (Mishak, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 1/13).
Friday was the last day for groups to submit briefs pertaining to the reform law's provision requiring U.S. residents to obtain health insurance (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 1/13).
Details of Brief
Led by Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler (D), the attorneys general challenged the central argument against the individual mandate made by the 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business (Frieden, CNN Justice, 1/13). They argued that Congress has the authority to require individuals to purchase insurance because the issue is national in scope, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the U.S. economy (Winfield Cunningham, Washington Times, 1/13).
Harris said, "Federal health care reform is not only essential to improving access to quality health care in California, it also is central to the long-term health of our economy, as well as state and local budgets" ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 1/13). Harris added that the law provides "cooperative federalism" that allows states to implement federal law based on their preferences (CQ HealthBeat, 1/13).
The attorneys general said they intend to file two more briefs supporting the legality of the Medicaid expansion under the overhaul and addressing the issue of severability (Washington Times, 1/13).
Patient advocacy groups -- including the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association -- filed a brief saying that a mandate is necessary for the overhaul to "be effective in achieving the patient protections, cost reductions, elimination of inequitable cost-shifting, and improvements to health insurance Congress intended," CQ HealthBeat reports.
Women's groups, including the National Women's Law Center, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Federation, also filed briefs, stating that the reform law is intended to ensure women's access to health care and health insurance, as well as to end coverage practices that discriminate against women.
The Small Business Majority and Main Street Alliance in a brief wrote that the overhaul would address financial burdens associated with small businesses, which can pay on average 10% to 18% more than large employers for the same health benefits (CQ HealthBeat, 1/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.