Politics

Supreme Court Will Hear Florida's Challenge to Obama Health-Care Law

By: Kevin Derby and Jim Turner | Posted: November 14, 2011 11:38 AM

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama | Credit: Jason Means - Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will review the health-care reform lawsuit brought by 26 states -- including Florida; and the National Federation of Independent Business -- against the federal government.

The NFIB and the states -- which Florida led with a constitutional challenge filed in 2010 under former Attorney General Bill McCollum -- claim, in their lawsuit, that President Barack Obama and Congress exceeded their power by requiring Americans to buy health insurance starting in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act.

"The burden and expense of the health-care law is a concern for all Americans, but especially for small businesses which pay substantially more for health coverage than large corporations," the NFIB stated in a release.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi welcomed the court's decision.

"Throughout this case, we have urged swift judicial resolution because of the unprecedented threat that the individual mandate poses to the liberty of Americans simply because they live in this country," Bondi stated in a release. "We are hopeful that by June, 2012, we will have a decision that protects Americans' and individuals' liberties and limits the federal government's power."

Oral arguments are expected to be heard in March, with a decision announced in late June -- in the middle of Obama’s re-election campaign.

The White House reacted on Monday by releasing a statement from Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.

"Earlier this year, the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to consider legal challenges to the health reform law and we are pleased the court has agreed to hear this case," Pfeiffer stated in a release. "Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 1 million more young Americans have health insurance, women are getting mammograms and preventive services without paying an extra penny out of their own pocket, and insurance companies have to spend more of your premiums on health care instead of advertising and bonuses. We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree."

Republicans vowed to make health care an issue in the Sunshine State in 2012.

Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, now in a crowded Republican primary field looking to challenge Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, took aim at Obama and promised to make health care an issue.

"President Obama's health care takeover is unconstitutional and America cannot afford it,” Hasner said in a statement released on Monday. “I am pleased that the Supreme Court has decided to hear the case against Obamacare, but it is not enough to just let the courts decide. The president's plan is a trillion-dollar mistake that will hurt American businesses and families, diminish the quality of American health care, and speed up the accumulation of unsustainable debt. It must be repealed in its entirety.

"Today, Obamacare got its court date,” added Hasner. “Senator Bill Nelson and all the Democrats who voted for it will have their day in court on November 6, 2012."

GOP Senate candidate George LeMieux also chimed in that the Supreme Court review is the "right decision."

"Obamacare’s individual mandate is nothing less than unconstitutional and an infringement upon our sacred liberties," stated LeMieux, who noted in a release that he voted against the health care act while appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2009.

"The federal government cannot force Americans to purchase a product and then fine them if they do not. If this is within the power of our federal government, then there is nothing our government cannot do and our Founders’ vision of federalism is over."

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859. Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859 or (772) 215-9889.


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