States, Business Group Respond to DOJ’s Motion To Dismiss Reform Suit
On Friday, 20 states, the National Federation of Independent Business and numerous individual taxpayers will file a response to the Department of Justice's attempt to dismiss their lawsuit challenging aspects of the federal health reform law, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Kay, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/6).
On March 23 -- the same day that the reform law was enacted -- attorneys general from 13 states filed a joint lawsuit in Florida, arguing that the individual mandateÂ -- which requiresÂ residents to either buy health insurance or pay a penalty --Â is unconstitutional (California Healthline, 3/24).
Details of DOJ Argument
In June, DOJ asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the U.S. District Court in Pensacola -- where it was filed -- does not have jurisdiction over some of the suit's claims and that other parts of the case do not state claims that can be granted relief.
DOJ in its motion to dismiss also said that requiring residents to buy coverage falls under Congress' constitutional power to tax and spend.
In addition, U.S. attorneys have said that the suit is inappropriate because it does not hinge on a genuine constitutional issue.
However, the states said DOJ's motion to dismiss is based on "political rhetoric and flimsy legal arguments" meant to distract from the issues presented in the case.
Karen Harned, executive director of the Small Business Legal Center of NFIB, said that a court must hear the case in order to maintain individual liberties.
She said, "The federal government does not have the authority to regulate an individual's decision to do nothing," adding, "If they did, then they could force us to purchase any product they want."
U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson is set to consider arguments on the motion to dismiss on Sept. 14 (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 8/6).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.