Alaska joining health care challenge

John O'Brien Apr. 21, 2010, 1:57pm


JUNEAU, Alaska (Legal Newsline) - With state Attorney General Dan Sullivan's blessing, the state of Alaska has decided to join the lawsuit challenging federal health care reform signed into law last month.

Gov. Sean Parnell announced Tuesday that the state would be joining 19 others challenging the law in Florida federal court. Sullivan offered a 48-page legal memorandum that said a mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty is the most troubling part of the law.

"This case is ultimately about the extent to which the federal government can exert power over the states," Parnell said.

"It has critical implications for the liberty interests of all American citizens. Alaska must join this important litigation."

The other states involved in the lawsuit, filed by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, are Georgia, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a separate challenge in Virginia federal court. He seeks to protect a state law that says Virginians can't be forced to purchase health insurance.

"The individual mandate is an unprecedented federal action," Sullivan said. "Never before has the federal government required people to buy a good or service as a condition of being a lawful resident in the United States."

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