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Health Bill Lawsuit to Continue, Inspite of Some Dismissals

Officials with the Attorney General's office say they are unconcerned about the dismissal of several provisions of a health care reform lawsuit.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Attorney General Greg Zoeller announcing his intention to join in a class action suit which would overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Though a Thursday decision by a federal judge in Pensacola, Florida throws out portions of a lawsuit brought by Indiana and 19 other states against the federal health care reform bill, state officials say the most important provisions of their case remain.

First is a challenge to the mandate that every person in America is required to buy health insurance. Second is that Congress exceeded their authority by imposing burdens on the state in terms of the Medicaid program. The 20 states wish to have the new federal health care law struck down as unconstitutional.

Under this law, which comes into effect in 2014, if a person doesn’t purchase health insurance then they have to pay a fine.

Public Information Officer for the Attorney General’s Office, Bryan Corbin, says the judge’s decision was never going to be more than a first step in the legal process…

“This will be appealed up to the federal circuit court of appeals and then from there we’re certain it will be appealed, regardless of how that turns out, it will be appealed up to the United States Supreme Court.” said Corbin.  “And that was kind of the goal all along is to bring this question before the United States Supreme Court to have this question asked and answered.”

There is no additional cost to the state of Indiana in regards to the lawsuit and Corbin says nothing has been spent on the case outside of the Attorney General’s yearly budget.

But Families USA Deputy Executive Director Kathleen Stoll says the judge ruled four of the lawsuit’s provisions had no basis in the law.  Stoll points out all the attorneys general who joined the case are Republicans, which makes her think the case is about more than just the health care bill.

“I really think this is more a political debate and a debate about elections, than a conversation about what’s in the bill, and what’s good for consumers, and what kind of help consumers need in Indiana.” said Stoll. “There are a lot of uninsured people in the state and a lot of people with insurance struggling to afford their premiums”

Stoll says her organization isn’t worried about the case, but is watching it. The next step in the lawsuit is a hearing on December 16 concerning the underlying issues of the constitutionality of the law.

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