McCollum, Bondi, Haridopolos chime in on Va. health care ruling ahead of Thursday hearing
Three high-profile Republican supporters of a lawsuit in Florida challenging the legality of the new federal health care law issued statements following a Virginia judge’s ruling yesterday that determined the individual mandate requiring citizens to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.
Both outgoing and incoming Attorney Generals Bill McCollum and Pam Bondi, along with Senate President Mike Haridopolos (all Republicans), marked the decision, which conflicts with two other rulings challenging the law, as a victory for Floridians.
McCollum vowed to go beyond the decision made in Virginia, and will ask U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to invalidate the expansion of Medicaid to the 2 million additional recipients anticipated to be partially covered under the new law.
I am pleased to see Judge Hudson’s order finding the individual mandate to be an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s powers. While Judge Hudson struck the individual mandate, the lawsuit brought by 20 States before Judge Vinson in Pensacola, Florida challenges both the individual mandate and the costly Medicaid portions of federal health care act.
The implementation of this law could add more than 1.9 million Floridians to the Medicaid program, a tremendous financial burden on our state at a time when our budget has no room for extra expenses. As our lawsuit heads to oral argument this Thursday, I am hopeful we will obtain a favorable decision that will strike down the individual mandate and also halt the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars required to be spent by states to implement the Affordable Care Act.
While it is only the first step in a long process, today’s decision is a needed reminder that the Constitution places enforceable limits on the federal government’s power. As the Virginia and Florida cases move forward, I will continue to stand up for Floridians against a law that is both unconstitutional and unaffordable.
Florida’s separate lawsuit challenging the federal health care law is pending in the Northern District Court in Pensacola, and a summary judgment hearing is scheduled for this Thursday.
Today’s ruling declaring parts of the federal health care law unconstitutional is a victory for the United States Constitution and all Americans. It’s also a strong validation for Florida’s on-going challenge to the health care law. Clearly Congress cannot compel Americans to either purchase a product or pay a fine. A federal judge agrees.
While the Virginia case and Florida’s legal challenge will eventually be decided by the United States Supreme Court, I’ll continue my push for SJR2 – The Health Care Freedom Act. I strongly encourage the legislature to give Floridians the opportunity to decide if mandated health insurance is the path they chose to follow. If ObamaCare somehow survives these legal challenges, Floridians can have the same opportunity to do what companies and big labor unions are already doing – opt-out of this new law.
I’m encouraged by today’s ruling, but we still have plenty of work to do to ensure our constitutional rights are protected from big-government mandates.
Florida’s lawsuit challenges the coverage mandate, while also claiming that to reform the $2.5 trillion health care system would force already cash-strapped legislatures to spend tremendous amounts to meet the requirements of the reform act.
Judge Vinson will hear oral arguments in Pensacola Thursday before determining whether to make a summary judgment in a case that 19 other states have joined, and which may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.