McCollum: Health care bill is unconstitutional

McCollum

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has another problem with proposed federal health care reform.

The Republican gubernatorial hopeful, one of 13 state attorneys general who originally voiced concern over the so-called "Cornhusker Kickback" provision of the health care package, said Tuesday that requiring individuals to purchase health insurance raises constitutional concerns.

McCollum wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to offer his legal analysis.

"The U.S. Constitution enshrines a form of limited government to protect the rights of the states under a system of federalism and to protect the individual freedom of our citizens," McCollum wrote.

"The health care individual mandate provisions as currently drafted violate constitutional principles and lack constitutional authority for Congress to enact."

Under both the House and Senate versions of the package, an individual must purchase health insurance or face a fee or tax.

"Never before has Congress compelled Americans, under threat of government fines or taxes, to purchase an unwanted product or service simply as a condition of existing in this country," McCollum wrote.

McCollum also joined a group challenging a deal given to Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Nelson gave Senate Democrats their 60th vote in passing the legislation after a measure was included that exempted his state from having to pay for any newly eligible Medicaid recipients.

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster is leading the group of AGs who may challenge.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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