Republican Leadership Fights Against HealthCare Reform at State Level


In the wake of the passage of the healthcare reform bills, many U.S. States have expressed concern that new requirements will tax their already thin budgets, and, in the words of Republican politicians, “usurp their sovereignty.” According to Reuters in at least 12 states, Republican attorneys general have announced the filing of lawsuits to prevent the Federal government from “overstepping its constitutional powers.”

The Federal plan includes providing funds to help states through the overhaul process, which would include the requirement that all Americans have health insurance, resulting in more people being pushed into the Medicaid system that the U.S. government and the states administer for the poor.

In addition to filing lawsuits, many state legislatures are attempting to pass their own constitutional amendments and laws to keep health insurance optional. As reported by Reuters, here is the list of actions being taken:

* Attorneys general in Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington plan to band together in a collective lawsuit.
* Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli also announced plans to file a lawsuit in federal court.
* At least 36 state legislatures are weighing legislation to limit, alter or oppose the federal healthcare reform, and 27 of those are considering amending their state constitutions by ballot. Arizonans will vote on an amendment in November.
* Tea Party groups and others in Ohio and Michigan hope to collect enough signatures to place constitutional amendments to fend off federal healthcare changes on their state’s November ballot.
* Virginia was the first state to react legislatively, by enacting a statute entitled “health insurance coverage not required.”
* Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed a bill on Wednesday allowing the state’s attorney general to file a lawsuit opposing federal healthcare legislation requiring individuals to buy medical insurance.
* Utah’s governor has signed into law a bill requiring a state analysis of federal healthcare reform prior to implementation.
* Texas Governor Rick Perry says the plan will cost the Lone Star state $24.3 billion over 10 years,
* Florida, Georgia and Missouri have begun embarking on constitutional resolutions.
* Massachusetts and Vermont are both in the unique positions of having their own healthcare plans already in place.
* The New Hampshire legislature has passed a bill prohibiting any expansion of Medicaid, the healthcare system for the poor, unless it is paid for by the federal government. The current version of the U.S. plan requires the federal government to cover 100 percent of all new Medicaid enrollees through 2016.

At this time, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Vermont have no plans for legislative responses to the Federal bill, while Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas cannot consider action because those states don’t have regular legislative sessions this year.

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