KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Small Business Lobby, Others Join States’ Lawsuit Against Health Law

News outlets covered developments in a suit against the new health law.

Reuters: "A national business lobbying group on Friday joined 20 U.S. states in a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system. The joint lawsuit led by Florida and now grouping 20 states was filed on March 23 by mostly Republican attorneys general." The suit claims the law "violates state government rights in the U.S. Constitution and will force massive new spending on hard-pressed state governments" (Brown, 5/14).

The Associated Press: "The nation's most influential small business lobby [the National Federation of Independent Business] is joining a court challenge to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, arguing that Americans cannot be required under the Constitution to obtain insurance coverage. .... The NFIB's involvement ensures that constitutional arguments for overturning the health care law - even if they fail to sway federal judges - will be extensively aired in the fall campaigns. With 350,000 members, the group boasts a far-reaching network of local activists" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 5/14).

St. Petersburg Times: "The new plaintiffs - Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and Alaska - bring to 20 the number of states challenging the health care law." Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who filed the suit,  forces "people to buy a product from a private company or pay a tax or fine. It also claims that the law infringes on states' rights by forcing them to spend billions of dollars expanding national Medicaid programs" (Zink, 5/15).

The New York Times: "Two individuals also joined the litigation. One is the uninsured owner of an automobile repair shop in Panama City, Fla. The other is a man from Washington State who prefers to pay his medical bills out of pocket rather than being compelled to obtain insurance, as will be the case starting in 2014. The additions of the business association and individual plaintiffs, according to lawyers involved, were intended to shift any public perception that the lawsuit was primarily a political device. But the new plaintiffs also may help the states fight an anticipated challenge by the federal government to their standing, or legal authority, to bring the lawsuit" (Sack, 5/14).

Kansas City Star: "Although opponents contend that the new law is an attack on personal freedom, proponents counter that the decision to not have health insurance is not merely a personal choice because someone else must pay for the care that the uninsured receive when they get sick or injured. 'Individual decisions to forgo insurance coverage, in the aggregate, substantially affect interstate commerce by shifting costs to health care providers and the public,' the Justice Department said in legal papers filed this week" (Stafford, 5/14).

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