A federal district court in Florida today heard a multi-state case against the Obama Administration’s new health care law. A bipartisan coalition of state officials from across the country challenged the constitutionality of the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. After today’s oral arguments, the federal court is expected to rule on the law’s constitutionality sometime next year.
South Carolina is one of 20 states to challenge the case in the Florida court. The effort is led by the Attorney General of Florida, Bill McCollum. State Attorney General Henry McMaster was the first to sign onto the Florida complaint. He says the federal government cannot make citizens buy health insurance:
On the hearings today, McMaster says:
I am very happy with how well the hearings on both parties motions for Summary Judgment (Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) went today in Florida. Judge Roger Vinson asked some very tough questions of both sides. I believe our argument will win out. If the Health Care Law is not overturned as being unconstitutional, it will cost the state of South Carolina billions of dollars for just the expansion of Medicaid alone. The states can not afford this law.
Conservative business lobby, The National Federation of Independent Business, also joined the suit. J.J. Darby, South Carolina state director of the NFIB, said in a statement today:
Our members want healthcare reform, but we believe the individual mandate in the health care law – which forces Americans to buy private health insurance or pay a penalty – is fundamentally unconstitutional. Congress simply doesn’t have the power to force someone to buy health insurance or any other product, just because they’re alive.
Darby says the NFIB is looking forward to working with Gov-elect Haley in pursuing meaningful reform.