State AGs File Brief in Support of HCR

August 22, 2011 ( – California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has filed a brief in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supporting the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and urging the court to affirm the states' rights to protect the health and safety of their citizens.

“The law strikes an appropriate, constitutional balance between federal and state authority over the health care system,” Harris said, according to a news release. “It establishes federal standards, backed by federal funding, to expand access to affordable coverage while conferring considerable latitude on states to design systems that work best for their citizens.”

Harris, joined by nine other attorneys general, asserted in the brief that the federal health care law bolsters, rather than usurps, state authority to address problems in the national health care economy that the states cannot solve effectively on their own.

According to the brief, the health care law solves a national problem in a way that gives greater power to states by building on a successful model of cooperative federalism. Further, the brief states that the framework established by the law “empowers states to create enduring solutions to those problems, and to do so with federal support.” The attorneys general also argue that the minimum coverage provision is a constitutional and integral element of Congress’s interstate solution to the health care crisis.

California was joined in the brief by Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.

In July, the same group of attorneys general filed a friend-of-the court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia urging that court to affirm the constitutionality of the federal health care reform law. Attorney General Harris also filed similar briefs in April in the 11th Circuit, in March in the 4th Circuit (see AGs Make another Filing in Support of Health Reform Law), and in January in the 6th Circuit.

The 8th Circuit case is Kinder v. Geithner, No. 11-1973.

Last month, officials from 21 states filed a brief in support of the Missouri Governor’s challenge in the case (see States Support MO Challenge to Health Care Law).