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    The ink was just barely dry when President Obama signed the historic Health Care legislation into law when Florida and 18 other states filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services challenging its constitutionality. Shortly after, Michigan's attorney general, Mike Cox, joined the states by alleging the Health Care Bill infringes upon the constitutional rights of Americans by mandating that all legal residents and citizens must have qualifying health care or pay a tax penalty. By imposing such a mandate, Mr. Cox and the other states are claiming that the law exceeds the powers of the United States under Article I of the Constitution.

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    The argument is based on the premise that the federal government is overstepping its boundaries by getting into people's personal freedoms thus having no limits to what they can mandate Americans to do. The National Federation of Independent Business also joined the parade stating that it will directly affect small business that are required to pay for insurance or pay a penalty. The suit represents only one means by which Republicans are still attempting to thwart the massive health care bill. The states are also worried about the extent to which the statute imposes a financial burden on resources and personnel.

    "It has never been held that the Commerce Clause [of the Constitution] ... can be used to require citizens to buy goods and services," the suit says. "To depart from that history to permit the national government to require the purchase of goods and services would deprive the Commerce Clause of any effective limits."....

    Representatives of several liberal activist organizations delivered petitions to Cox's Lansing office containing what they said were the names of 3,700 Michiganders opposed to the lawsuit. John Freeman, a former Democratic state representative from Oakland County and Michigan director of Healthcare for America Now! said the lawsuit was an unconscionable waste of taxpayer money.
    Conversely to the lawsuit, Representative Gary Peters sent out a press release crunching the numbers stating that 6.3 million Michigan residents who currently have health insurance can keep their current plan and will have it strengthened. It also outlaws dropping individuals who become ill while insured and reduces the cost of preventative care. In response to the problem with small business, over 200,000 small businesses will receive a tax break to help provide health coverage for owner's families and employees, and will be able to purchase insurance at more competitive prices on insurance exchanges. Moreover, 141,000 Michigan residents with preexisting conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes can no longer be denied health coverage.

    With that said, the fact still remains that 49 million people in the United States, and over 1,400,000 Michigan citizens are without basic health care coverage and these figures have been growing each year. Medical costs are the second largest reason for personal bankruptcy, second only to job loss itself and nearly 20,000 of our citizens die each year of conditions that were left untreated due to lack of access to health care. In what is still the world's wealthiest economy, that is nothing short of criminal.

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    About Us

    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    The thoughts, opinions, and positions represented herein are solely those of the participating students and in no way represent an official position or policy recommendation of Michigan State University.

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Leah Brynaert

    Leah Brynaert is Health Care Fellow & Correspondent for the Michigan Policy Network. She is a first-year student in Lyman Briggs College at MSU.