California again defends healthcare reform law

California Attorney General Kamala Harris – who already had joined friend-of-the-court briefs defending the constitutionality of last year’s federal healthcare reform law in the 6th, 4th and 11th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal – has now done so again in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

“Health care reform saves lives, and that is why I am determined to protect this law,” Harris said in her news release today, noting that the filing comes one week after the 6th Circuit became the first federal appeals court to uphold the law’s constitutionality.

Harris and nine other attorneys general argue in the new brief that the Constitution grants Congress broad powers to regulate interstate commerce, and that the decision to buy health insurance has a significant impact on interstate commerce because it allows the formation of risk pools, lowers health care costs nationally and reduces the cost of uncompensated care.

“The law strikes an appropriate, constitutional balance between federal and state authority over the health care system by creating federal requirements, backed by federal funding, to expand access to affordable coverage, while conferring considerable latitude to allow states to decide how best to design a system of federally-supported coverage that works well for their citizens,” the brief argues.

Joining California in this brief are Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Oregon and Vermont.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Lars54

    I applaud Kamala Harris for taking this stand, affordable health care for all our citizens is a worthy goal, we must endeavor to provide all Americans with a health plan, somehow, someway. It’s a moral issue, health care is not something that only the wealthy have access to.

  • Publius

    I applaud Lars54 for being a cheer leader for the left, and for re-hashing the Democratic talking points every chance possible.

  • For Liberty

    RE #1:

    The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things!

  • John W

    Re #3 For Liberty

    So, let’s see. If you have employer-sponsored, taxpayer subsidized insurance, you can have a dozen serious pre-existing conditions, the law protects you from being denied coverage or having it rescinded or paying more for it. If you’re 60, you get coverage for the same rate as a 20-year old. But if you buy insurance on your own because you are self-employed or don’t have access to an employer plan, you can be denied coverage or charged triple the advertised premium for something as minor as having once used prescription medicine for toenail fungus (I kid you not), or charged more based on age, or have your policy retroactively rescinded if you develop a condition that starts costing the insurer money. And, unlike employer insurance, you pay for it with after tax dollars. If you don’t have insurance, either because you choose not to have it, or nobody will sell it to you, your visit to the ER will cost you up to 5 times what the hospital would be paid by an insurance company for the same services. Does all that sound like “equal rights” to you. First and foremost, what you folks like to call “ObamaCare” was designed to restructure the dysfunctional individual health insurance market via the insurance exchanges and to give people who depend on that market some of the same protections as people with employer sponsored insurance have. The preamble to the Constitution says, “…in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice…and “promote the general Welfare…”

  • Elwood

    @ John W

    You should save your breath John.

    After the Supremes find Obamacare unconstitutional you’ll really need to vent.

  • John W

    Re #5

    You might be surprised by what SCOTUS does Elwood. In any event, I anticipate GOP control of both House and Senate and very possibly the WH. I’ll be doing plenty of venting then, about health care and lots of other stuff.

  • James

    Framers like Randolph, Hamilton, Madison, Wilson or even Chief Justice Marshall made clear the power to regulate commerce was the power to prescribe the rules that determined which articles of imports or tonnage were to receive restrictive or prohibitory duties for the purpose of promoting or protecting local manufactures. The power over the states was for remedial purposes to prevent states from taxing neighboring states trade with Congress also prevented from doing the same (congress wasn’t trusted) in regulating commerce among the states via section nine of article one. More here: