updated 8/6/2010 2:37:06 AM ET 2010-08-06T06:37:06

Twenty states and the nation's most influential small business lobby plan to file their response Friday to the government's attempt to dismiss their lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

The Justice Department in June asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the U.S. District Court in Pensacola lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over some of the lawsuit's claims. They also said other parts of the lawsuit failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted.

The states, the National Federation of Independent Business and several individual taxpayers will file their response in Pensacola federal court.

Mandatory insurance at issue
A key issue raised by their lawsuit is whether the federal government can require individuals to purchase health care insurance and fine those who don't.

The court must hear the case to preserve individual liberties granted through the Constitution, said Karen Harned, executive director of the Small Business Legal Center of the National Federation of Independent Business.

"The federal government does not have the authority to regulate an individual's decision to do nothing. If they did, then they could force us to purchase any product they want," she said.

In a statement, Harned said the government's motion to dismiss was based on "political rhetoric and flimsy legal arguments" and was an attempt to distract the court from evaluating the case's constitutional issues.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor, is leading the legal challenge.

Other states that have joined the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson has set a Sept. 14 hearing to consider arguments on the motion to dismiss.

In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, the Justice Department said the requirement to buy coverage is an exercise of Congress' constitutional power to tax and spend.

Genuine constitutional issue?
Government attorneys also have said that while reasonable people may disagree on issues such as the health care overhaul, it cannot be moved from the elected branches of government into the courts without a genuine constitutional issue, which they maintain is absent in this case.

The states argue the new law will require them to pay additional Medicaid costs not covered by the federal government, but that they cannot opt out of the program for low-income and disabled people because it has become too popular.

They maintain that violates the 10th Amendment, which says the states and people have powers that the constitution does not grant to the federal government nor prohibit the states from having.

The health care law, passed along partisan lines, requires most Americans to carry health insurance — through an employer, a government program, or by buying their own policies.

The mandate is effective in 2014. Insurers will then be required to take all applicants, and the government will offer tax credits to help middle-class households pay premiums. Medicaid will be expanded to cover millions more low-income people.

Individuals who refuse to get health insurance will face a tax penalty, with exceptions for financial hardship and religious reasons.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Court cure for health care law?

  1. Transcript of: Court cure for health care law?

    SCHULTZ: tonight, Jack Rice , criminal defense attorney and former CIA officer and Ron Christie , republican strategist who just can`t wipe that smile off his face because he worked in the Bush White House and he gets the first question tonight. How come the president, former president is not going to release his book before the midterms, Ron ? What`s going on here?

    RON CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well Ed , sometimes I think truth gets in the middle of a very good story and the fiction of this is really what we`re talking about. You know, I sat down with President Bush in October 21st , 2009 . That was last year. And we talked about my book which by the way comes out October 12th of this year and when we talked about my book, he said, oh, my book comes out about a month or so after yours. And then, earlier today Ed , I looked on the MSNBC website at 4:30 and I looked down and I reviewed a sentence. This is the MSNBC website. And it says, the publisher of former President George W. Bush `s book "Decision Points" on Sunday set a November 9th release date . So, for all these people to say that the president is somehow now pushing back his release date , he told me personally almost a year ago that his book was coming out in November and MSNBC and the website said, his book is going to be released on November 9th , I think this is much to do about nothing, yet again another attempts to try to demonize the former president.

    SCHULTZ: Do you know for a fact that he has not changed any of the interviews that were scheduled before the election?

    CHRISTIE: Well, from one offer to another Ed , you know as well as I do that we get our release date and we look at our pre-publicity. I do know for a fact that when we spoke almost a year ago, he said that his book was coming out in November and the MSNBC website said that his book was coming out November 9th . That`s what I know. That`s why I found this is very interesting of people trying to say that he`s trying to switch his release date to try to help republicans in Congress . It is much to do about nothing. Again, another attempt of people trying to make things up to demonize the former president and try to do in my opinion to press turn out.

    SCHULTZ: Jack , what about this?

    JACK RICE, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I don`t know about that, Ed. I look back at the RNC back in 2008 . I still remember talking to republican who did not want to see President Bush at that place. He never actually showed up. He pushed back for a lot of different reasons. And I think because they didn`t want to tie themselves around this president. Look, for the last two years, what we`ve been hearing from republicans is that we`re all about no when it comes to Obama , not about ideas but about no. I think the fear for a lot of republicans now is that they will be tied back to the policies of President Bush . They don`t want that. And I think they want him to stay as far as away from them as possible. So I don`t know. There may be something else going on here.

    SCHULTZ: All right. Let`s talk oil. The White House is now on board with a NOAA report saying 75 percent of the oil has been cleaned up. Jack Rice , do you believe that? And I pointed out.

    RICE: No, I don`t.

    SCHULTZ: You know, back in June, there were hoards of experts out there were saying that this is absolutely the worst thing, this is going to be going on for decades. Are we getting spun here by the Obama White House ?

    RICE: Yes. I have a bad feeling we may be. This sounds like something that BP would be spinning out there and that the White House is pushing this, too. I understand he wants to push this away. But, you know what? I don`t care whether this is left or right, we`re still talking about tens of millions of gallons of oil. Nobody really knows where this is going. How bad this is going to be but to turn around now and say, it`s all good baby, it`s all good. That`s not good enough. It shouldn`t be good enough for anybody.

    SCHULTZ: Ron , you worked in the Bush White House . You know a little bit about spin.

    CHRISTIE: Go ahead, ask your question. I`m ready for you.

    SCHULTZ: Well, do you think the Obama administration is spinning is the oil numbers here? Because -- if tell you what, if it turns out and some experts come out and they counter the report that`s out, this could be politically damaging. I think that they`re going out on a limb on this one.

    CHRISTIE: I agree with you and I agree with Jack on this. I think that it could be the case that 75 percent of the oil that is on the surface of the water has dissipated.

    SCHULTZ: They`d better be right.

    CHRISTIE: But what I`m concerned about Ed and I think Jack would agree with me on this, I`m worried about the marshes, I`m worried about the ecosystem, I`m worried about the environmental damage that we don`t understand the consequences of this. And I want to know where this 75 percent number came from. It seems to be an arbitrary number when you look at your last segment. They can`t even get the checks out to these poor fishermen and these poor small business people who have been impacted. Where did this 75 percent number come from? I think this could come out to haunt them because the facts are going to come out and it very well might differ from 75 percent.

    SCHULTZ: And Ron , the next subject tonight is the health care question on the ballot in states to get conservatives out there dealing with the Federal government telling people that they`ve got to buy health care and get involved in the program. Do you think that this is going to be a hot issue to get conservatives out to the polls?

    CHRISTIE: I do. I think not only for conservatives Ed , I think it`s going to be for all Americans. I mean, you look at Missouri , Missouri was a state that John McCain only one by one tenth of one percent yet by an over three to one margin, 70 percent of the people in Missouri said, we don`t want this. I think this is something that we will mobilize conservatives and independents and democrats.

    SCHULTZ: Jack , this is the -- all of a sudden ? What do you think?

    RICE: Oh, come on, let`s look back. The individual mandate back in 1993 when the democrats were coming up with health care reform, you know what the alternative from the republicans was? That`s right. It was the individual mandate. Now all of a sudden , the individual mandate is some lefty, pinko, socialist Obama approach? Come on, let`s be honest.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments