U.S. House Speaker Boehner Assails Obama Health-Care Law in Court Papers
John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, asked a U.S. appeals court to uphold a federal judge’s decision to invalidate the Obama administration’s health care reform legislation.
Boehner, an Ohio congressman, called the health law “job crushing” in a statement announcing the filing today. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the filing of a brief by him and 43 of his party colleagues in a separate statement minutes later. Filing of the friend of the court briefs could not be independently confirmed.
In a lawsuit pressed by 26 states, U.S. District Judge C. Roger Vinson in Pensacola, Florida on Jan. 31 ruled unconstitutional a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requiring almost all Americans to obtain some form of health insurance coverage beginning in 2014.
Finding that the insurance mandate was a critical part of the law, Vinson invalidated the legislation in its entirety.
“While we continue working to repeal the job-crushing health care law, I’m proud to stand with these states and job creators in their efforts to overturn this government takeover that is destroying jobs, increasing costs, and jeopardizing coverage for millions of Americans,” Boehner said in his statement.
President Barack Obama’s administration is defending the legislation, which he signed last year, and has asked the Atlanta-based appellate court to overturn Vinson’s decision.
“The minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of Congress’s commerce power,” the U.S. said in its brief filed April 1. “The interstate nature of the market for health care services is undisputed. Nor is it controverted that individuals participate in the market for health care services whether or not they have health insurance.”
McConnell, a U.S. Senator from Kentucky, said in his statement that the individual insurance mandate was “an unprecedented and unauthorized exercise by Congress” of its ability to regulate commerce.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, together with former House speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief last month in which they defended the health care law and asked the Atlanta court to reverse Vinson’s ruling.
“The vast majority of uninsured Americans do seek and receive often expensive emergency medical care,” the Democratic leaders said. “The choice to opt out of paying for health insurance is not the same as opting out of the health care market.”
More than two dozen other briefs have been submitted by supporters and opponents of the law.
The appellate court is scheduled to hear argument from attorneys for the U.S. and the states on June 8.
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