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Attorney General DeWine Authorizes Action to Challenge Constitutionality of Health Care Law

1/10/2011

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that he 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.  "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."

In litigation now pending before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, some 20 states have asked the Court to declare the healthcare law unconstitutional.

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.  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.

The Florida case is one of two lawsuits thus far brought by states to have the healthcare law declared unconstitutional.  A federal Judge in Virginia ruled on December 13, 2010, in a case involving that state, that the Act's individual mandate is, indeed, unconstitutional as beyond the power of Congress.

A copy of Attorney General DeWine's letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, giving Ohio's agreement to seek inclusion in the lawsuit, can be viewed as www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/FloridaLetter.

Media Contacts:

Lisa Peterson Hackley: (614) 644-0508

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