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Florida Attorney General: Individual Mandate In Federal Health Care Legislation is Unconstitutional

January 22, 2010

Florida Attorney General: Individual Mandate In Federal Health Care Legislation is Unconstitutional

~ McCollum announces intention to file lawsuit, along with other Attorneys General, if provision becomes law ~

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced the completion of his legal analysis of whether the individual mandate currently included in the federal health care legislation violates the U.S. Constitution. In a memo to Congressional leadership today, the Attorney General noted that the U.S. Constitution establishes a limited federal government that protects the freedom of individuals and the rights of states, and the individual mandate in the health care legislation is contrary to that Constitutional principle as it penalizes inactivity.

“Congress’s unprecedented mandate on every citizen to purchase health insurance coverage or to face a penalty raises serious constitutional concerns,” wrote the Attorney General. “The health care individual mandate provisions as currently drafted violate constitutional principles and lack constitutional authority for Congress to enact.”

In the current versions of the House and Senate legislation, there exists an individual mandate that would require everyone to purchase health insurance coverage, or otherwise pay a fee or tax. According to the Attorney General, a citizen’s choice not to buy health insurance cannot rationally be construed as economic activity, or even “activity,” to subject that inactivity to regulation under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

The Attorney General stated that if the individual mandate is in the final bill signed by the President, the States and citizens should pursue legal action to challenge it, and noted that several Attorneys General had expressed interest in joining Florida should legal action become necessary.

The Attorney General’s memo was issued today after receiving a request from Senator George LeMieux to respond quickly due to the speed of current negotiations on the health care legislation.

A copy of the memo is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-7ZUMNW/$file/HealthCareMemo.pdf

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