N.H. House wants state to join health care challenge

Jessica M. Karmasek Feb. 10, 2011, 3:12pm


CONCORD, N.H. (Legal Newsline) - New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney says he will challenge a bill that would force him to join the multistate lawsuit against President Barack Obama's health care reform law.

The GOP-led House voted 267-103 in favor of the legislation on Wednesday, the Concord Monitor reported. The bill now must be reviewed to make sure it is constitutional.

Delaney told the Monitor that he believes the bill violates the separation of powers principle.

"This vote takes us one step closer to having the Legislature assume the independent constitutional powers and duties of the attorney general," he said.

Delaney said House Bill 89 "is about more than health care."

"It's about whether the Legislature can order and compel the attorney general to enforce and implement laws in particular ways," he said.

Passing the bill also could create a dangerous precedent, he said.

A spokesman for Gov. John Lynch told the newspaper that he would veto the bill if it passes the Senate.

Earlier this month, a federal judge sided with the 26 states in the multi-state lawsuit in Florida.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the health care act's individual mandate is unconstitutional. The mandate requires individuals purchase health insurance or face an annual $695 penalty.

Because the mandate is too integral a part to be separated, Vinson voided the entire legislation in the suit. He called it "a difficult decision to reach."

The issue is most likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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