Florida Leads March to High Court Over Health Care

By: Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida; My Florida Legal Release
By: Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida; My Florida Legal Release

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, September 29, 2011 -

Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

Florida and its allies Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the 2010 federal health overhaul, hoping for a speedy decision in the landmark legal fight with the Obama administration.

It was no surprise that Florida, other states and the National Federation of Independent Business filed two petitions asking the Supreme Court to take the case. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi likened lower courts that have ruled in the dispute to a "pass through."

"We've been seeking to get to the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as possible from day one,'' Bondi said during a news conference at the Capitol after the petitions were filed.

The Obama administration also signaled this week it wants justices to determine the constitutionality of the law during their next term, which starts in October.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this summer ruled that the law's so-called "individual mandate" is unconstitutional. But the U.S. Justice Department said Monday it would not seek a hearing before the full appeals court, a move that could help clear the path to the Supreme Court.

It remains unclear when --- or if --- the Supreme Court will agree to hear the challenge filed by Florida, 25 other states, NFIB and two individual plaintiffs. Similar cases are working their way through lower courts in other parts of the country.

But the Florida case has been perhaps the most-closely watched challenge to the law. Former Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum filed the case in Pensacola immediately after President Obama signed the health-care law in March 2010.

In their petitions, the states and NFIB contend that the entire health law should be tossed out because the individual mandate is unconstitutional. That mandate will force almost all Americans to have health coverage in 2014 or face financial penalties.

While the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the individual mandate, it let the rest of the massive law move forward --- a legal concept known as "severability.'' Other parts of the law range from regulations on insurers to an expansion of Medicaid.

In its petition, the states described the mandate as the "centerpiece of the delicate compromise" that led to the law.

"We believe that if the mandate is unconstitutional, we firmly believe that the entire health care act is unconstitutional because of the inner workings of it,'' Bondi said.

The Obama administration, however, disputes that the mandate is unconstitutional, saying Congress has the legal authority to approve such coverage requirements.

Administration lawyers also have fought arguments that the entire law should be thrown out if the mandate is found unconstitutional. As an example, they have argued in lower courts that part of the law expanding Medicaid coverage could happen regardless of the individual mandate.

In their petition, the states also seek to get the Supreme Court to find that the Medicaid expansion is unconstitutional. They contend it is a form of federal "coercion" because states will have to go along with the expansion or risk losing billions of dollars in Medicaid funding.

But the Obama administration argues that Medicaid has always been a voluntary program for states, which have to comply with federal requirements. Also, the administration says the federal government will pay almost all of the expansion-related costs in the early years.

___________________________________

AG Bondi Message on Florida and Other States Requesting U.S. Supreme Court Review of Health Care Lawsuit

Today, Florida and the 25 other states challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act announced that we have filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision of the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

This health care law is an affront on Americans' individual liberty, and we will not allow the federal government to violate our constitutional rights. Our country urgently needs a final ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Although the Eleventh Circuit agreed with the States that the Act's individual mandate requirement violates the Constitution, the States have asked the Supreme Court to review three other aspects of the opinion: (1) whether the entire Act must fail because its centerpiece - the mandate that every person purchase insurance - is unconstitutional; (2) whether the federal government can force the States to administer and fund a substantial expansion of Medicaid or risk all of their Medicaid funding; and (3) whether the federal government can require States to give state employees a federally mandated level of health insurance coverage.

This case is paramount in our history and will define the boundaries of Congress’ power as set forth in our Constitution. We must defend Americans’ rights and freedoms and prevent us from being forced into purchasing anything.

------------------------------------------------

ATLANTA, Ga. – September 28, 2011 -

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the 25 other States
challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act today announced that they have filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision of the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“This health care law is an affront on Americans’ individual liberty, and
we will not allow the federal government to violate our constitutional
rights. Our country urgently needs a final ruling from the U.S. Supreme
Court,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “This case is paramount in our history and will define the boundaries of Congress’ power as set forth in our Constitution. We must defend Americans’ rights and freedoms and prevent us from being forced into purchasing anything.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi addresses reporters' questions on Florida going to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge the federal health care law.

Although the Eleventh Circuit agreed with the States that the Act's
individual mandate requirement violates the Constitution, the States have asked the Supreme Court to review three other aspects of the opinion: (1) whether the entire Act must fail because its centerpiece - the mandate that every person purchase insurance - is unconstitutional; (2) whether the federal government can force the States to administer and fund a substantial expansion of Medicaid or risk all of their Medicaid funding; and (3) whether the federal government can require States to give state employees a federally mandated level of health insurance coverage.

As stated in the petition, “This case offers this Court an ideal vehicle to resolve pressing and persistent constitutional questions arising out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It represents an unprecedented challenge—involving over half of the States in the Nation—to an unprecedented legislative initiative.”


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  • by Pro Business Republican Location: Golden Eagle on Sep 29, 2011 at 02:24 PM
    I, like millions of self-made, hard-working, and successful, wealthy Americans own lots of stock with major insurance companies. If insurance companies make money then I make money. People that are liabilities cost them and myself money. My wealth and retirement are tied up in insurance companies covering the healthy and those that can pay the premiums, not the sick, pre-existing conditions, poor, and undesirables. So therefore, let capitalism work and if you don't like it then move to a communist country.
  • by Ileana Location: FSU on Sep 29, 2011 at 02:10 PM
    Our country claims to be moral and a "shining city on a hill". We're currently the last or one of the last nations on the planet to withhold health care for all it's citizens. If you're poor you get in that line, (death), and if you have money then you get in the other line, (treatment and preventive treatments to stay alive). Apparently, life is cheap, (or expensive).
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 29, 2011 at 05:43 PM in reply to Ileana
      Obama and Pelosi stated in 2008 that they could not cover 135 million Americans with healthcare so their reaction was to reduce access of services and restrict who could be allowed to have care. ie End of life counseling. Further if this nation is such a horrible example why is it that countries with social medicine have their affluent citizens come here for care? Many procedures are not allowed or not given in time in a socialized medical environment. Shining on a hill not the best or most appropriate analogy to describe anything but a historical context of time in this nation's early history. I hardly think that ie. the Congregationalists have anything to do with healthcare.
  • by Jane M. Location: Albany on Sep 29, 2011 at 02:02 PM
    Scary buzz words that right-wing facists like to use such as "socialism", "liberals", "ObamaCare", "boogieman" don't work with me. The truth is if EVERYBODY is required to pay in then EVERYBODY including the current covered win. Then, the currently covered won't have to pay for the 40-50% uncovered people.
    • reply
      by me on Sep 30, 2011 at 05:29 AM in reply to Jane M.
      Problem is...EVERYBODY won't be paying in and YOU KNOW IT!
  • by Lisa Location: Tallahassee on Sep 29, 2011 at 12:19 PM
    Well goody. Let's oppose the law that prevents big insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Those of us who have insurance should not rest in the fact that our insurance companies won't drop us one day if we start cutting into the profits.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 29, 2011 at 05:44 PM in reply to Lisa
      Let me know how you feel about reduced access to mammograms as this is one of the things Obama and his cronies are proposting.
  • by Don Location: Cairo on Sep 29, 2011 at 10:25 AM
    Who cares if millions don't have health care. I've got mine and that's all I care about. Let them eat cake.
  • by mc on Sep 29, 2011 at 06:47 AM
    socialized medicine never works .In the countries that have it people are denied care if they don't meet certain reqirements, such as age and productivity. In England in you are a senior citizen and have macular degeneration you can not get the surgery to save your sight unless you are blind in one eye first. European countires pay half of thier inconme to fund this. I know I was in Germany last year. In Canada people are put on such long lists for care that many come to the U.S. for life saving surgeries and treatment, flooding our border state hospitals. People just want others to pay for their care it is just an election trick to get people used to having govt. pay for their things and keep voting for those who provide them. If this was such a needed thing then why didn't the benefits kick in when it was passed? Instead they don't until 2014. yYou won't have say in your own treatment it won't be between you and your doctor. A beauracracy has been set up in washington and will determine if you get your treatment , in socialism free isn't free.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 29, 2011 at 08:15 AM in reply to mc
      There are far more many Americans going to Canada for treatment (illegally posing as Canadian citizens) than there are Canadians coming to the US. Also, most patients who come from Canada to the U.S. for health care are those whose costs are covered by the Canadian government. If a Canadian goes outside of the country to get services that are deemed medically necessary, not experimental, and are not available at home for whatever reason (e.g., shortage or absence of high tech medical equipment; a longer wait for service than is medically prudent; or lack of physician expertise), the provincial government where you live fully funds your care. Those patients who do come to the U.S. for care and pay out of pocket are those who perceive their care to be more urgent than it likely is.
      • reply
        by mc on Sep 29, 2011 at 12:25 PM in reply to
        ask people from Canada or other countries when they are denied treatment how urgent it is. It should never be up to govt. when or how you get treatment it should be between you and your doctor
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Sep 29, 2011 at 05:45 PM in reply to
        Know of instances where heart patients and others are denied treatment in Canada and come here for help.
  • by Tired of free rides Location: Leon Co. on Sep 29, 2011 at 05:40 AM
    More than half of hospital/doctor visits are from the uninsured. We the insured and taxpayers have to bankroll them. They can have cable TV, electronics, a nice car, but choose to not pay for health insurance. I'M FOR MANDATORY HEALTHCARE because then EVERYBODY pays something and it halts the burden on those few that pay into insurance. If folks don't want to pay because "they never need health care", then the 1st car accident or health problem you'll see them in the hospital and THEN guess who has to pay for them?
  • by JES on Sep 29, 2011 at 02:35 AM
    Perry mandated HPV vacinations on 12 year old girls, Romney mandated healthcare ins. for Mass., but conservatives are against mandates unless it is mandated by a republican. Payroll taxes are mandated for payroll taxes (SS) and floridians are mandated to buy car insurance if they drive. If the supreme court overturns this law then all mandates are unconstitutional. I will be the first one to cancel my car insurance and quit paying payroll taxes. So kill SS, Medicare, insured drivers, we don't need any of these programs.
    • reply
      by me on Sep 29, 2011 at 11:19 AM in reply to JES
      ....just goes to show how stupid you are...
      • reply
        by My on Sep 29, 2011 at 02:12 PM in reply to me
        Dear Me, that's an intelligent and constructive response
        • reply
          by me on Sep 30, 2011 at 05:25 AM in reply to My
          Dear My, thank you for your response. You must be assuming that I'm out to educate you folks. Talking with any of you results in being called "racist and unpatriotic". I'm at the point where I will let you live with your stupidity, correcting you is like curing cancer, "ain't happenin'". JES is an idiot and if you agree with JES's logic, you just joined JES.
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Sep 29, 2011 at 02:31 AM
    I am probably what you would call a "right-winger" when it comes to spending, and I find absolutely no fault in spending my tax money to fight a law that was forced on the American people despite their strong opposition to it. If the Supreme Court strikes the law down it will save taxpayers far more than it is costing to fight it in the long run, and if they don't I'll bet you will see a lot of politicians that voted for it trying to distance themselves from it come next election time or deciding to retire. There is no doubt more savings than even expected now will be realized if it is thrown out by the Supreme Court. Do I want anyone not to have health care? Of course not, if they want it. But if they don't want it they should pay for their own medical treatment. Those who are disabled and truly unable to do any type work I don't mind helping. But not the able bodied who won't work who are just a tick on the rest of us.
    • reply
      by Gerry on Sep 29, 2011 at 06:28 AM in reply to Georgia Boy
      A lot of opposition to the law is because it doesn't go far enough, for example, doesn't have a public option. There also was a lot of opposition because of the death panels and 16,000 new IRS agents. Florida has between 5% and 6% of the US's population. I think that means between 800 and 1000 of those new IRS agents would deal with Floridians.
  • by Just Shouting Location: Florida on Sep 29, 2011 at 02:15 AM
    Where is the AG when it comes to up holding and enforcing Florida Laws ie The Sunshine law, she knows the one where it is illegal to operate Florida government business in the shadows/dark back rooms/hidden from the peopleie the governor's e-mails. Oh we know the Florida AG can't find a republican wrong doer or her fanny with a search party of six. Vote'em out, vote'em all out in 2014-2016.
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