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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
David Paulson, 410-576-6357
dpaulson@oag.state.md.us

State Attorneys General File Amicus Brief with Supreme Court in Support of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
11 States, District of Columbia and Virgin Islands file
Federal health care reform law proclaimed "vital for states"

BALTIMORE, MD ( Jan. 13, 2012) - Today Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, joined by Attorneys General from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, filed a brief as amicus curiae with the United States Supreme Court in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"The Affordable Care Act is vital for states seeking to battle spiraling health care costs and gaps in coverage for those who need critical care," said Attorney General Gansler. "Just as Congress can legally require truck drivers to purchase liability insurance, workers to contribute to Social Security, send our children off to war, or file an income tax return every April, so can Congress require the purchase of health insurance. As every state knows all too well, health care in America is in crisis and requires a national solution."

Today's amicus brief was filed in HHS v. Florida (No. 11-398), one of several cases that are now up at the Supreme Court regarding the Affordable Care Act. It focuses on the constitutionality of the Act's minimum coverage provision. In the view of the amici states, the Act, complete with this provision, is unquestionably constitutional under the Commerce Clause because it addresses a major healthcare crisis that is fundamentally interstate in nature, and that has substantial effects on interstate commerce. While amici states have made determined efforts to address this crisis, state-by-state efforts cannot fully counteract the force of nationwide trends driven by interstate problems.

The brief argues that the Act's provisions, including the minimum coverage provision, are completely consistent with the intent of the Commerce Clause - namely to enable Congress to tackle interstate problems with major economic impacts. It also argues that the Act's provisions free states to focus their resources on pressing healthcare needs within their borders and afford states wide latitude to do so - through setting up exchanges, waivers, and more. In these ways, the Act builds on the successful tradition of cooperative federalism, in which states jointly participate with the federal government to forge lasting solutions to national problems.

For the complete brief visit here: http://www.oag.state.md.us/Press/11_398_tsac_State_of_Maryland_et_al.pdf


   

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