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Cochran and Wicker Join Challenge to...

Cochran and Wicker Join Challenge to Constitutionality of Health Care Reform Insurance Mandate

By: Magnolia Tribune - February 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 — The office of Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., issued the following news release:

U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker (R-Miss) are among 43 Senators who have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a multi-state legal challenge to a federal mandate that individuals must purchase health insurance.

The amicus brief was filed with the Supreme Court on Monday in support of a suit filed by 26 states against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the far-reaching health care reform law pushed through Congress in 2010 on a partisan basis. It is the latest such brief supported by Cochran and Wicker as part of ongoing legal challenges to that law.

In the 37-page amicus brief, the Senators assert that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority when it mandated that individuals must purchase health insurance as part of PPACA. The brief argues that upholding the mandate could then allow the government to mandate any commercial activity. “I did not support the health care reform law for a number of reasons, including its costs and mandates. The requirement that individuals must buy health insurance is, in my view, an unwarranted intrusion of the federal government into people’s lives,” Cochran said.

“Obamacare is a vast overreach for federal power, and the individual mandate is one of the most egregious examples,” said Wicker. “I remain committed to repealing the President’s health care law, which has proven to be full of broken promises. If this court challenge is successful, it will be a significant step toward overturning the law.”

In late October, the Supreme Court agreed to review the constitutional challenge to the PPACA mandate that would force almost all Americans to buy health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.

Among other points, the amicus brief states:

. “Put simply, Congress acted without constitutional authority in enacting the Individual Mandate of the PPACA. In so doing, it has damaged Congress’ institutional legitimacy and has triggered severe conflicts between state and federal governments that the Constitution was carefully designed to avert.”

. “Because the Individual Mandate regulates a simple decision or choice not to purchase a particular product, it exceeds the proper scope of the Commerce Clause.”

. “If Congress may punish a decision to refrain from engaging in a private activity (namely, the purchase of health insurance) because the consequences of not engaging in it, in the aggregate, could substantially affect interstate commerce, then the Congress can require the purchase of virtually anything. For example, this same rationale would allow Congress to punish individuals for not purchasing a host of health-related products, such as vitamin supplements, the use of which could lower aggregate health costs. Indeed, it is hard to imagine any private decision not to purchase a particular good or service that does not have some economic impact when aggregated among millions of people. Under that rationale, the government could mandate any commercial activity.”

The amicus brief was filed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). In addition to Cochran and Wicker, other signers included Senators: Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and David Vitter (R-La.).


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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Y'all Politics staff.