Republican Governors in 28 States Request Fast Review of Health Law Suits
Republican governors in 28 states are asking President Obama to support an expedited U.S. Supreme Court ruling to settle the constitutionality of the health-care overhaul passed last year.
The governors sent a letter to Obama today asking him to direct the U.S. Justice Department to support a fast-track appeal of lawsuits filed in Virginia and Florida challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The letter said states shouldn’t “endure years of litigation” in lower courts, which have produced conflicting rulings.
“Given the daunting and costly financial and regulatory burdens that our states and the private sector will face in implementing PPACA over the coming years, particularly during this unprecedented budgetary time, public interest requires expediting a final resolution of the litigation to give certainty as soon as possible,” the governors said in their letter.
On Jan. 31, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Florida ruled in a lawsuit brought by 26 states that the law’s requirement that citizens over 18 obtain health insurance beginning in 2014 was unconstitutional. Three other federal judges in Virginia and Michigan also have issued rulings on the law, two affirming its legality and one striking it down.
Nick Papas, a White House spokesman, referred calls to the Justice Department.
Tracy Schmaler, a Justice spokeswoman, referred in a telephone interview to previous statements that the Virginia lawsuit “should follow the ordinary course of allowing the court of appeals to hear it first.”
Two federal appeals courts are already planning to hear challenges to the law on expedited schedules, with arguments in May or June.
The Obama administration didn’t object to fast-track consideration at the appeals-court level. The Justice Department last week said it will oppose Virginia’s request that the Supreme Court take the unusual step of considering the case immediately, bypassing the appeals court.
Mary Fallin of Oklahoma was the only Republican governor who didn’t sign the letter. A voicemail message left today at her office seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned. That state has its own lawsuit challenging the federal law, said Mike Schrimpf, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association.
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