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Mar-09-2011 18:16printcomments

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Brief in Support of Constitutionality of Health Care Reform

Other states joining California in this brief are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Vermont.

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(SACRAMENTO) - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit strongly asserting the legality of federal health care reform and urging the court to uphold the law.

"The law strikes an appropriate - and constitutional - balance between national requirements that will expand access to affordable healthcare while providing States with flexibility to design programs that achieve that goal for their citizens," the amicus brief states.

In December, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the law's requirement that individuals maintain health insurance or pay a fine is unconstitutional.

Attorney General Harris, joined by eight other attorneys general, rejected that view in a brief filed yesterday in Richmond, VA. They argued in the amicus brief that the Constitution gives Congress broad powers to regulate interstate commerce.


The failure of millions of Americans to purchase health insurance has a significant impact on the states. In 2008, the cost of uncompensated care was $43 billion nationally. In California, the annual cost of covering the health care expenses of the uninsured is $455 per individual and $1,186 per family.

The new law's minimum coverage provision will reduce the need to shift the cost of uncompensated care of the uninsured - and will thus reduce the expenses absorbed by the states and by individuals with health insurance.

Further, the brief states that the Affordable Care Act does not "commandeer the states to implement a federal program" but rather provides them with important tools to cooperate in order to provide their citizens with access to affordable and reliable health care.

Other states joining California in this brief are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Vermont.

In January, the same group of attorneys general filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Source: News release from the California Attorney General's office




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