Attorney General Kamala D. Harris
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Brief in Support of Constitutionality of Health Care Reform
SACRAMENTO–Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit strongly asserting the legality of federal health care reform and urging the court to uphold the law.
“The law strikes an appropriate–and constitutional–balance between national requirements that will expand access to affordable healthcare while providing States with flexibility to design programs that achieve that goal for their citizens,” the amicus brief states.
In December, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the law’s requirement that individuals maintain health insurance or pay a fine is unconstitutional.
Attorney General Harris, joined by eight other attorneys general, rejected that view in a brief filed yesterday in Richmond, VA. They argued in the amicus brief that the Constitution gives Congress broad powers to regulate interstate commerce.
The failure of millions of Americans to purchase health insurance has a significant impact on the states. In 2008, the cost of uncompensated care was $43 billion nationally. In California, the annual cost of covering the health care expenses of the uninsured is $455 per individual and $1,186 per family.
The new law’s minimum coverage provision will reduce the need to shift the cost of uncompensated care of the uninsured–and will thus reduce the expenses absorbed by the states and by individuals with health insurance.
Further, the brief states that the Affordable Care Act does not “commandeer the states to implement a federal program” but rather provides them with important tools to cooperate in order to provide their citizens with access to affordable and reliable health care.
Other states joining California in this brief are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Vermont.
In January, the same group of attorneys general filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
To buttress the attorney generals’ effort in supporting the President’s Health Care Reform Act, Dr. James A. Mays, a primary care physician, who has been operating a clinic in South Los Angeles for decades, has written a letter to President Obama in which he stated, in part, ” … I have three (3) offices serving diverse groups of people. I would like to congratulate you on the passing of the Health Reform Bill. It is much needed…. The reason for the letter is to emphasize there will be a greater need for physician, office and clinic staff. There will be a great demand for more nurses of all types, technicians, medical assistants and receptionists….
This demand for medical care employees presents the ideal situation to institute a solid foundation of permanent employment in this respected profession and at the same time, provide positive direction for our young population….”
As someone who is on the frontline in providing healthcare service, Dr. Mays is uniquely qualify to highlight the positive, long-term effects of the President’s Health Care Reform Bill.