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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. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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