Various Groups Seek To File Briefs in Lawsuit Against Health Reform
On Friday, legislators, interest groups and state governors filed several requests to contribute amicus briefs both in support and against the multistate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health reform law, National Journal Daily reports (McCarthy, National Journal Daily, 11/12).
The lawsuit -- which Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) filed in March in U.S. district court with the support of 19 other mostly Republican state attorneys general and governors, as well as the National Federation of Independent Business -- argues that the law's individual insurance mandate is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs also contend that states will be overwhelmed by the cost of Medicaid's scheduled expansion in 2014 (California Healthline, 11/12).
Among those filing amicus brief requests were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and a group of more than 30 economists. Seven other Republican senators joined McConnell's brief (Goldstein, Washington Post, 11/12).
Boehner said that the reform law must be repealed and replaced with "reforms that bring down costs and protect American jobs" (O'Brien, "Blog Briefing Room," The Hill, 11/12).
The group of 35 economists sought to defend the law in their amicus brief. The group includes three Nobel laureates and numerous high-ranking officials in former presidential administrations (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 11/12).
In their brief, the economists attempted to demonstrate why the decision not to purchase health insurance is an economic one that affects the market.
They wrote, "Unlike nearly any other market for goods or services, no person can truly leave the market for medical services, either because of illness, accident or age."
They also emphasized the cost of caring for the uninsured, which raises costs for individuals who have coverage (National Journal Daily, 11/12).
Other Brief Requests
Iowa, Oregon and Vermont are seeking to defend the lawsuit, saying that opponents of the law "overstate [its] costs, disregard its substantial benefits and minimize the obstacles to expanding health care insurance coverage through a patchwork of individual state actions."
In addition, six hospital associations -- which represent nearly all hospitals in the U.S. -- want to submit briefs supporting the individual mandate because they currently must subsidize the cost of treating uninsured patients (Haberkorn, Politico, 11/12).
In opposition to the overhaul, the conservative Family Research Council filed a request on the basis that the law is "contrary to family values, family interest and religious liberty," especially provisions related to abortion (Washington Post, 11/12).
Other groups that requested to submit briefs include the:
- American Academy of Pediatrics;
- American Association of People with Disabilities;
- American Civil Rights Union;
- Family Research Council;
- Small Business Majority Foundation; and
- Young Invincibles (Politico, 11/12).
By Friday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson -- who is overseeing the trial -- had granted 16 requests to file amicus briefs (Washington Post, 11/12).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.