Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Attorney General Sam Olens Joins Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality Of Federal Healthcare Reform

In a motion filed today in the lawsuit pending in the Northern District of Florida, Attorney General Samuel S. Olens joined the litigation challenging the constitutionality of The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Reform Act, otherwise known as the 2010 federal healthcare reform. Georgia had originally joined the litigation in 2010, but had to do so through the Governor’s Office when Olens’ predecessor as Attorney General declined to join the litigation. Today’s filing places the number of states represented by their Attorneys General at 21 of the 26 states that are now party to the Florida litigation.

“Given the far-reaching impact of the federal healthcare law on every Georgia citizen as well as the critical constitutional implications of its requirements, it is important that Georgia’s interests were protected at all stages of the litigation,” stated Attorney General Olens.

In addition to the Georgia Attorney General’s office, six additional states – Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Maine, Wisconsin and Wyoming – joined the litigation, bringing the total number of states which are party to the Florida litigation to 26.[1] Combined with Virginia, which brought a separate challenge to the healthcare reform law, a majority of states are now challenging the constitutionality of the federal healthcare reform law passed last year. While there has not been a final ruling in the Florida litigation, a federal district judge ruled portions of the federal healthcare reform unconstitutional on December 14, 2010 in the Virginia litigation. The federal government has indicated that it plans to appeal that adverse ruling.

Outside counsel who has been assisting the Governor’s office on a pro bono basis will continue to assist the Attorney General on this case without cost to Georgia taxpayers.

[1] The states that are now party to the litigation in Florida are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 
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