(AP) - The Obama administration will try to persuade a federal judge Tuesday to throw out a lawsuit by 20 states that claim the president's health care overhaul is unconstitutional.
The fight will primarily be over sections of the law that will require individuals to have health insurance or face tax penalties and require states to pay additional Medicaid costs not covered by the federal government.
Attorneys defending the law will argue that the section requiring health insurance doesn't take effect until 2015 and it's up to an individual taxpayer - not the states - to challenge the law then. The government has said it has the right to create the insurance mandate under the commerce and general welfare clauses of the Constitution.
There, the Obama administration also tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, saying
Timothy Jost, a professor at
But more than 30,000 members of the federation are already suffering, said Karen Harned, executive director of its
Many insurance companies have changed their plans or discontinued their policies in advance of the new law, making it more expensive for small businesses to meet the requirements, she said. Fewer than half of the nation's small businesses provide employee health insurance now, she said, and the law would create a financial burden for many of them.
"We would agree with the government that the individual mandate is the key to the entire health care law, but we think the entire health care law is bad," she said.
Attorneys for the states and the Justice Department will each have 45 minutes to present their case to U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, who is expected to release a written decision later. The lawsuit is likely to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court, probably before the 2012 presidential election.
The other states that are suing are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.