At least a dozen state attorneys general have vowed court challenges, and more than three dozen states are considering health care reform nullification bills. The stage is even set for several states to try to amend their constitutions to prevent the reforms from applying within their borders.
- Legal Challenges: Alabama will join Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and
in a joint legal challenge. Washington
- Star Crusader: Attorney General Troy King is leading the anti-health care reform crusade at the state level.
- Grounds: King argued that the bill tramples "state sovereignty" and illegally forces people to acquire insurance.
- Status: King, who also made waves this week by picking a high-profile fight with the Alabama governor over the state gambling task force, will be in Washington this week to discuss Alabama's potential response. He has also occasionally been mentioned as a candidate for higher office.
- Legal Challenges: Arizona has proposed a constitutional amendment.
- Star Crusader: Arizona state officials have been rather silent on health care reform, but one high-profile figure is
orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eric Novack, who is currently the chairman of the advocacy group Arizonans for Health Care Freedom. Novack also reportedly helped Arizona lawmakers draft the proposed amendment. Phoenix
- Grounds: Arizona lawmaker Nancy Barto, who sponsored the measure, says that the amendment will "protect patients' fundamental rights."
- Status: Last summer, the Arizona legislature passed the "Health Care Freedom Act," a bill that refers a constitutional amendment to Arizona voters. The amendment prevents citizens from being forced to purchase health care and guarantees the right to purchase private coverage. It will appear on the November ballot. A similar referendum on mandatory health care narrowly failed in 2008.
- Legal Challenges: Colorado has an anti-health care reform ballot measure, and is joining the interstate federal lawsuit.
- Star Crusader: On the legal front, Attorney General John Suthers announced that Colorado will join with Florida in filing suit. On the grassroots level, Jon Caldara, president of the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute, is pushing hard for an anti-health care reform ballot initiative.
- Grounds: "The Constitution gives Congress the enumerated powers to regulate those engaged in interstate commerce," Suthers said in an interview. "It does not give the Congress the power to compel a citizen, who would otherwise choose to be inactive in the marketplace, to purchase a product or service and thereby become subject to congressional regulation."
- Status: The secretary of state's office has already granted approval for the ballot initiative supporters to begin collecting signatures. The initiative would direct the state not to enforce the federal law. And Suthers remains committed that Colorado will join the interstate lawsuit.
- Legal Challenges: Florida is leading the charge for a federal lawsuit in coalition with other states, and proposed state legislation and proposed constitutional amendment.
- Star Crusader: Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is running as a Republican for governor, is leading a broad coalition of states in a joint lawsuit against the health care bill.
- Grounds: McCollum will focus specifically on the requirement that residents purchase insurance or face fines.
- Status: McCollum has already laid the groundwork for his legal challenge, hiring a Washington lawyer to argue the case. Further, just hours after Congress passed the bill, the Florida legislature began considering two measures. The first was a bill that simply urged McCollum to sue; the second was a proposed constitutional amendment saying that no Florida resident could be forced into the national health care scheme. The amendment will need to pass the legislature, and then be approved by voters.
- Legal Challenges: Michigan is joining the interstate federal lawsuit.
- Star Crusader: Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who is running for governor as a Republican, has been a vocal opponent of reform.
- Grounds: According to a statement by Cox, "Congress' attempt to force Michigan families to buy health insurance -- or else -- raises serious constitutional concerns."
- Status: Michigan will join the interstate lawsuit.
- Legal Challenges: Nebraska is joining the interstate federal lawsuit
- Star Crusader: Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who caused controversy nationwide by trading his vote for $45 million in extra Medicaid funding for Nebraska, plans to vote "no" on the Senate fixes, but it is state Attorney General Jon Bruning who is leading the legal fight.
- Grounds: ''It tramples on individual liberty and dumps on the states the burden of an unfunded mandate that taxpayers cannot afford,'' Bruning said.
- Status: Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, has expressed support for the lawsuit, and Nebraska will join the Florida-led lawsuit rather than filing its own suit.
- Legal Challenges: North Dakota is joining the interstate federal lawsuit.
- Star Crusader: Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who is not running for higher office but is seeking re-election, is considering the proposal.
- Grounds: According to the AP, Stenehjem is concerned about the cost of the Medicare expansion and the mandatory insurance provisions.
- Status: According to Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, North Dakota will be part of the Florida suit.
- Legal Challenge: Ohio has a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment.
- Star Crusader: No singular figure in Ohio has emerged to lead the challenge, but the Cincinnati 9/12 Project is a Tea Party-affiliated group that is pushing the amendment and collecting signatures to put the measure to a vote.
- Grounds: According to a statement put out by the group, "... the federal government is trampling on the direct constitutional authority and responsibility of state legislatures. This constitutional amendment will do what our leaders in the Statehouse have failed to do -- protect Ohioans from federal mandates on personal behavior."
- Status: The group needs to collect approximately 400,000 signatures by June 30 to have its amendment considered. The amendment protects the rights of Ohioans to opt out of the federal health care reform.
- Legal Challenges: Pennsylvania is joining the interstate federal lawsuit.
- Star Crusader: Pennsylvania's decision to join the Florida-led lawsuit is wrapped up in gubernatorial politics. State attorney general Tom Corbett is running for governor as a Republican. Monday he announced Pennsylvania's participation in the suit. Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell called the suit "political grandstanding."
- Grounds: The effort will focus on the mandatory insurance requirement.
- Status: As of Monday, Corbett's office had confirmed to the AP that Pennsylvania still planned to participate in the interstate lawsuit led by Florida.
- Legal Challenges: South Carolina is joining the interstate federal lawsuit.
- Star Crusader: GOP Attorney General Henry McMaster has emerged as a staunch opponent to health care reform. He is also running for governor in South Carolina. In a campaign e-mail, he promised to fight for South Carolina's "way of life."
- Grounds: In the same campaign e-mail, McMaster argued, "The health care legislation Congress passed last night is an assault against the Constitution of the
." United States
- Status: McMaster has firmly stated that South Carolina will join the interstate-led lawsuit.
- Legal Challenges: South Dakota is joining the interstate federal lawsuit.
- Star Crusader: Gov. Mike Round and Attorney General Marty Jackley, both Republicans, are the high-profile opponents of the reform effort.
- Grounds: "Medicaid is the train that's driving the discussion," Jackley told the Associated Press.
- Status: Florida Attorney General Bill McCollumn said Monday night that South Dakota had agreed join the interstate lawsuit..
- Legal Challenges: Texas is joining the interstate federal lawsuit.
- Star Crusader: Both Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott have been outspoken opponents of health care reform.
- Grounds: Abbott laid out the Texas case in a statement Sunday: "'To protect all Texans' constitutional rights, preserve the constitutional framework intended by our nation's founders, and defend our state from further infringement by the federal government, the state of Texas and other states will legally challenge the federal health care legislation."
- Status: In a Facebook status update, Abbott wrote, "We plan to file the moment Obama signs the bill." The Texas Tribune is reporting that Abbott and other state attorneys general had agreed to move forward with a single lawsuit.
- Legal Challenges: Utah plans state-level legislation, and is joining the interstate federal lawsuit.
- Star Crusader: Not a single member of the bipartisan Utah House delegate voted for the health care reform bill, but Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff have emerged as the loyal opposition on the state level.
- Grounds: According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Herbert and Shurtleff believe that they have increased standing to sue because Herbert signed legislation banning the individual mandate within Utah. Now federal law and Utah law directly contradict one another.
- Status: According to Shurtleff, the Florida-led lawsuit is "ready to roll" and Utah will be a part of it.
- Legal Challenges: Virginia plans an independent federal lawsuit, plus pending legislation.
- Star Crusader: Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli has taken the lead.
- Grounds: According to Cuccinelli, the federal government lacks the ability to force people to purchase insurance. Virginia's legal challenge will revolve around the Commerce Clause. "If a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person by definition is not engaging in commerce," Cuccinelli said, according to Reuters.
- Status: The Virginia legislature already passed a bill saying that no Virginian can be required to purchase insurance. Wednesday, Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to sign the bill into law. Cuccinelli vowed to file his lawsuit as "soon as the ink is dry" on the health care bill.
- Legal Challenges: Washington is joining the interstate federal lawsuit.
- Star Crusader: Politicking is playing a big role in the health care fight in Washington state. Attorney General Rob McKenna is widely believed to be seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2012. He drew a sharp rebuke from incumbent Gov. Chris Gregoire when he announced that Washington would join the lawsuit.
- Grounds: "This unprecedented federal mandate, requiring all Washingtonians to purchase health insurance, violates the Commerce Clause and the 10th amendment of the U.S. Constitution," McKenna said in a statement.
- Status: Though McKenna said that Washington would join the lawsuit, Gov. Gregoire said that she was planning to file her own suit arguing that McKenna is not representing the state.