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AG questions constitutionality of health-care bill

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Not only would federal health-care legislation significantly cost Indiana if passed, the state's Attorney General also believes aspects of the legislation could be constitutionally questioned and possibly overturned by courts.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued a 55-page report today studying the constitutionality of the U.S. Senate-created health-care bill and what its impact might be on Indiana. The in-house research and drafted report comes a month after some of Indiana's congressional delegation asked the state agency to review provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act under Indiana Code 4-6-8-2 that allows this specific review if requested.

If the legislation is passed, the AG has determined that Indiana would bear substantial economic costs - roughly about $500,000 more added to the Medicaid rolls - and create unintended consequences for patients, taxpayers, and the state's medical-device industry.

Legally, the report notes that some provisions could be struck down in a court challenge:

· The bill's "individual mandate" requiring everyone to buy health insurance or face a penalty would be unprecedented; never before has the federal government required Americans to purchase any good or service, nor has it regulated inactivity.

· The bill's "Nebraska Compromise" amendment would expand the number of Medicaid participants in all states but fully fund the expansion for Nebraska only, while the other 49 states would have to absorb additional costs. While courts are properly reluctant to second-guess legislative deal making, such disparate treatment of one state appears to violate Article I of the U.S. Constitution, the report says.

· The bill would also require states to create insurance "exchanges" and require for-profit health insurers to offer certain types of coverage, making private insurers essentially highly regulated entities similar to public utilities, the report says. Before insurance exchanges are available, states would have to administer a temporary reinsurance program for high-risk patients. That mandatory obligation on the part of state officials might be found unconstitutional, according to the report.

The full report can be viewed online.

While passed by the Senate Dec. 24, the health-care proposal remains pending in Congress and the Indiana Attorney General's Office report is being offered for legislators to consider as that process continues.

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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