Republican legislative leaders filed an Amicus brief Wednesday, May 11, urging the U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold Florida’s claim Predsident Obama’s “Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010” is unconstitutional. Florida and several other states say the federal government doesn’t have the authority to require citizens to buy health insurance nor does it have the right to mandate coverage by insurance providers.
Republican Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a statement the legal brief also pointed to concerns over Medicaid costs.
The federal act “holds hostage states’ participation in Medicaid unless they submit to confusing federal mandates that violate the U.S. Constitution and wrongly exert control over state budgets and legislative agendas. The law would force North Carolina’s taxpayers to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more annually on Medicaid, hindering the state’s ability to provide other vital services.”
The North Carolina General Assembly passed a measure, HB2, to join Florida in the lawsuit but Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed it.
The bill also directed Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper to defend North Carolina citizens against any penalties imposed by the federal government for defying the health insurance mandate. Cooper defended the federal mandate and advised against joining the national lawsuit.
In a written statement Senator Berger said:
“It is a shame we had to file this brief because our governor and attorney general refused to defend the constitutional rights of North Carolinians.”
The case is being considered by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.