HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in a speech before state and local government executives, blasted the Monday ruling against the controversial healthcare reform law by a federal judge in Florida as “judicial overreach.” She also questioned the legal standing of a high-profile Medicaid waiver request from Arizona.
Sebelius rips Fla. judge's ruling on reform law
Sebelius said during a Governing Magazine conference that “considerable confusion” was caused by the ruling that struck down the law based on the judge's determination that the individual insurance mandate provision was unconstitutional. But she also marginalized the ruling by citing earlier decisions by 12 other federal judges to dismiss constitutional challenges to the law and the finding of two additional federal judges that the individual insurance mandate did pass constitutional muster.
“This was a case of judicial overreach,” Sebelius said of the Florida ruling.
In comments to a reporter afterward, Sebelius also questioned the legal standing of Arizona's request for a waiver from the healthcare law's Medicaid requirements. The waiver would allow the state to close a budget gap by reducing its Medicaid rolls by 280,000 people, but such a change may violate a 2000 state ballot initiative that requires free care for every resident below 100% of the federal poverty level.
Democrats in the state have indicated that they are likely to file a lawsuit challenging the waiver. The legal standing of the request came up as part of the ongoing HHS review of the waiver, according to Sebelius.
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