State and federal officials battling over the healthcare reform law in federal court have filed documents that set the stage for a judge to consider the merits of the case for the first time during a hearing set for Dec. 16.
Arguments filed in Fla. health-reform suit
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled in October that the core arguments the lawsuit makes against the law were plausible enough to proceed. The Obama administration and the plaintiffs then filed motions asking for summary judgment, which would end the case before it goes to trial.
The challenge in Florida, the most watched of several legal attacks on the law, is being mounted by 19 state attorneys general, outgoing Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons and the National Federation of Independent Business. They argue that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unconstitutionally compels individuals to buy health insurance under the guise of regulating interstate commerce, and that the law commandeers state Medicaid programs.
In court filings Tuesday, each side attempts to take down the other’s arguments.
The plaintiffs write that the Obama administration is asking that the court "rewrite the Constitution and fundamentally alter the relationships between the federal government and the states and between the federal government and the American people."
The administration counters that striking down the individual mandate "would allow insurers to refuse to cover millions of Americans who have some prior medical problem at the time they seek insurance, leaving them and their families at risk of financially ruinous medical costs. Congress's authority to prevent that outcome is at the heart of its Commerce Clause powers."
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