Miller, eight other AGs join in defense of health reform
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced this morning that he has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with eight other states’ attorneys general, all Democrats, defending the
constitutionality of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted in March 2010.
Miller joined Oregon Attorney General John Kroger and California Attorney General Kamala Harris in a conference call with reporters to announce the coalition, which also includes the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New York and Vermont.
The brief was filed on behalf of the defense in the appeal of the Michigan case of Thomas More Law Center v. Barack Hussein Obama. The Obama administration won the district court case, but the plaintiff, a not-for-profit conservative law firm, has appealed the district court’s decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Because Americans without health insurance cost the country billions of dollars annually in additional health care expenses, the issue “clearly has a substantial impact on interstate commerce,” said Miller, noting that the Supreme Court has established numerous precedents in which it has justified congressional action by reference to the commerce clause.
“It’s necessary for everyone to be covered for the health plan to work,” he said. “This is a rational, reasonable way for Congress to establish a health-care program.”
The announcement came just one day the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a move viewed as symbolic as there are unlikely to be enough votes to override a veto by President Obama.
On Wednesday, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad joined in Florida’s lawsuit seeking to repeal the health care reform act. That suit, filed by 25 other states, also challenges the law’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance as unconstitutional.