Buckeye State to Buck Health Care Legislation

January 14, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has officially authorized action seeking to add Ohio to the growing roster of states challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted healthcare law.


“Our Constitution provides for a federal government of significant, but defined and limited powers,” DeWine said, in announcing the move.  “By ignoring the constitutional limits on federal power, the healthcare law tramples on the rights of Ohio’s citizens.  We need to defend the checks and balances that our Constitution creates through its divisions of power and protect the people of Ohio from this huge federal overreach.”

DeWine noted that the lawsuit challenges the healthcare law’s “unprecedented claim of federal power to require individuals across the country to go out into the marketplace and purchase certain, federally-approved health insurance coverage or face financial penalties”, and that that ‘individual mandate’ “far exceeds the authority of the federal legislature under Article I of the United States Constitution and is not authorized by Congress’ power “to regulate commerce … among the several states.”  The complaint asks the Court to declare the Act unconstitutional and to enjoin the federal bureaucracy from enforcing the Act against Ohio and the other Plaintiff States.

“The federal government simply does not have the right to force someone to buy a product — be it health insurance or any other type of goods or services that an individual may or may not want — or face a penalty,” said DeWine.

Twenty states are challenging the health care legislation at present, though that number will expand if new pending requests from Ohio, Wyoming, and Kansas are granted.  Additionally, Oklahoma has recently announced its intention to file an independent challenge to the legislation (see Sooner State Takes on PPACA Individual Mandate – Alone).  To date, two federal judges have ruled that the legislation is constitutional (see Judge Declares HCR Law Constitutional, Liberty College HCR Challenge Dismissed), one has rejected that argument (see Judge Strikes Down HCR Coverage Mandate), and the federal judge in Florida who is hearing the case brought by the 20 states has not yet ruled (Court Green Lights FL HCR Challenge).   

A copy of Attorney General DeWine’s letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, giving Ohio’s agreement to seek inclusion in the lawsuit, is available at http://www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/FloridaLetter .