Tuesday March 23, 2010

President Signs Health Care Bill into Law, 12 States Immediately Sue

By Kathleen Gilbert

Updated 5:49pm EST

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 23, 2010 ( – President Obama signed into law the hard-won Senate health care bill at a ceremony in the East Room Tuesday morning. Moments later, as promised, twelve state attorneys general had filed federal lawsuits challenging the bill’s constitutionality.

The bill, which pro-life leaders call the greatest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade and abortion leaders have praised as a “huge victory,” passed in the House of Representatives Sunday night after Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) gave up resisting against the bill’s abortion funding.

Stupak, the leader of a group of pro-life Democrats whose vote was crucial to pass the bill, agreed at the last minute to support the bill if President Obama agreed to issue an executive order upholding the Hyde amendment. Stupak ignored warnings from top pro-life organizations that the executive order would not suffice to fix the problems in the bill.

Twelve state attorneys general, from Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington, had vowed to immediately challenge the new health care law in court after it was passed.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Idaho Gov. C.L. Otter have already signed legislation declaring the Senate bill’s provision to fine citizens who do not buy health insurance null and void.

“At no time in our history has the government mandated its citizens buy a good or service,” said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in a statement this week.

“We believe the federal law is unconstitutional as it is based on the commerce clause. Simply put, not buying insurance is not engaging in commerce,” he added.

In addition, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures over 36 states are considering some form of legislative action that would shield citizens from various elements in President Obama’s health care reform legislation.

The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center also filed a federal lawsuit against the bill, on behalf of Michigan citizens who object to being forced to purchase health care coverage, and object to being forced to pay for abortions contrary to their religious beliefs. The group seeks to permanently enjoin enforcement of the new health care legislation.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are quickly gearing up a “repeal and replace” campaign to fight the health care legislation.

“This is a somber day for the American people,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) after Obama signed the legislation. “By signing this bill, President Obama is abandoning our founding principle that government governs best when it governs closest to the people. Americans have never felt more disconnected from their government than they do today.”

“Most Americans out there aren’t celebrating today. They’re dumfounded by the fact that Congress just passed this 2,685-page monstrosity against their wishes, on the backs of their children and grandchildren, who they know will have to pick up the tab,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the Senate floor Tuesday.

“Democrats here in Washington can celebrate all they want. But that celebration is going to be short-lived.”


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