State legislative group lends backing to health care law


Though a lawsuit filed by state attorneys general over the Obama administration’s new health care law is receiving the lion’s share of media attention, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers also wants its voice heard in the court battle — in support of the controversial legislation.

Seventy-one legislators from 26 states have asked for permission to file a legal brief in support of the health care law, according to The Hill, a congressional newspaper in Washington, D.C. The group includes representatives from a dozen states where the governor or the attorney general is already formally lined up against the law.

“Given the Plaintiffs’ emphasis on state sovereignty,” the legislators’ motion says, “the views of State Legislators should not be excluded, particularly since the Plaintiffs purport to represent the interests of state sovereigns in general — when, in fact, many States and their citizens do not agree with Plaintiffs’ view of the Act and, specifically, the expansion of Medicaid.”

The lawmakers’ legal effort is led by Jack Hatch, a state senator in Iowa and the chair of the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform. It is also backed by the Progressive States Network, a nonprofit that supports liberal-leaning legislation in the states, and the Constitutional Accountability Center, a progressive think tank and public interest law firm.

As The Hill notes, many public officials, experts and affected organizations are lining up on each side of the new health care law, including by filing briefs in court. Leading hospital organizations want to file a brief in support of the law, for example, while several incoming Republican governors have already indicated an inclination to move against it. 

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