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Florida v. Department of Health & Human Services
As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, CAC represents more than 500 State legislators from every one of the fifty States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, who believe the Act is constitutional and respects constitutional principles of federalism. CAC has filed briefs on behalf of these elected state leaders on the constitutionality of the Act’s minimum coverage provision and the Act’s expansion of Medicaid.
The case before the Supreme Court was brought by a group of conservative state Attorneys General and Governors to challenge the historic health care reform law enacted in 2010. The group of elected state leaders represented by CAC stands in opposition to the efforts of their own state’s Attorney General or Governor to overturn health care reform in the courts. All of these state legislators believe the health care reform law is constitutional and is good for their States and constituents, and they are working hard in their states to implement the Act in a timely and effective manner.
As CAC’s brief on the minimum coverage provision, in particular, shows, the Constitution creates a vibrant system of federalism that gives broad power to the federal government to act in circumstances in which a national solution is necessary or preferable, while reserving a significant role for the States to craft innovative policy solutions that showcase the diversity of America’s people, places, and ideas. Far from violating state sovereignty or the principles of federalism in our Constitution, the health care reform law respects the federal-state partnership and builds upon it. Congress was acting within its constitutionally delegated powers when it enacted the minimum coverage provision as part of national health care reform.
As CAC’s brief on the Act’s Medicaid expansion [LINK to today’s brief] demonstrates, the conservative state Attorneys General and their allies’ constitutional claims that they are “coerced” into participating in the federal-State Medicaid program—which helps the Act achieve expanded coverage, lower costs, and health insurance security for millions of Americans—are groundless. States cannot be “coerced” or “commandeered” into complying with the new Medicaid requirements for the simple reason that Medicaid is and always has been a wholly voluntary partnership. States are free to opt out and create their own state alternative at any time, but may not use the courts to craft a law that is more to their liking.
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on the constitutional challenges to health care reform March 26-28, 2012. To see CAC's involvement in this case's lower court history, click here.