Lawyers representing 20 states were in a Florida courtroom Thursday, arguing for the federal health care act to be overturned. Their lawsuit is just one significant force in the overall legal opposition to the law across the nation.
The attorneys general from 20 states have a message for the president
“Obamacare should be stricken down as violating the constitution,” said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
They argued in a federal court that Congress does not have the constitutional authority to force all Americans to buy health insurance or penalize them if they don't.
“It is our liberty and freedoms Congress has trampled by forcing us to go out and purchase health care insurance,” Abbott said.
They also told the judge, if states are forced to expand Medicaid programs under the new law, they’ll go broke.
“Where are you going to get the money - we going to raise taxes in enormously in the states?” asked Bill McCollum, Florida Attorney General.
Earlier this week a federal judge in Virginia ruled that citizens cannot be forced to buy health insurance. Supporters of this lawsuit want the Florida judge to go even further – to actually stop the federal government from enacting health care reform.
But two other federal judges have upheld the law and dozens of groups are weighing in from the sidelines.
“There is a lot at stake because there are tens-of-millions of people who are going to gain coverage as a result of this legislation,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.
Outside the courthouse some showed their distrust of more government intervention, but others who’ve fought their own health care battles want to see health care reform stick.
“I would have suffered less not only financially but medically – had I been eligible for Medicaid,” said Laurie Scop.
Lawyers for the federal government say ultimately states don’t have the authority to interfere. And republicans are working to repeal the law.
Legal analysts say the issue will undoubtedly end up before the Supreme Court. There are 19 other states involved in the lawsuit including Alabama and Georgia.