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Friday, April 16, 2010

Roy Cooper Not Suing Obama Over Health Care Law

NC A.G. Won't Join Health Care Lawsuit

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper said today that North Carolina will not join 13 other states in challenging the Constitutionality of the health care overhaul recently passed by Congress.

Cooper said it was unlikely that such a lawsuit would succeed, and that there is plenty of time for Congress to make any changes in the law before the most contested provisions in the new law take effect in 2013, Rob Christensen reports.

"After careful consideration, I have concluded that North Carolina will not join this lawsuit," Cooper wrote in a letter Gov. Bev Perdue.

(Click here for letter to Gov. Perdue)

Cooper's decision came as little surprise.

The health care overhaul has been debated along partisan lines and was pushed through a Democratic-controlled Congress by President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Republican leaders in North Carolina had pressured Cooper and Perdue, both Democrats, to support joining the lawsuit, challenging the health care law soon after its passage.

All but one of the Attorney Generals who have joined the suit are Republicans. Cooper had withheld comment on requests that the state join the suit until his staff could conduct a review of the legal issues. He released a six-page memorandum from Christopher G. Browning Jr., his solicitor general, with the letter.

(Click here for the Memo.)

The central legal issue, is whether Congress has the authority to require citizens to purchase health insurance – part of its effort to provide universal health coverage. Browning notes that the courts have long interpreted that Congress has broad authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to regulate matters that substantially affect interstate commerce.

Cooper writes that health insurance reform is a policy decision that should be decided by the elected representatives, not by appointed federal judges.

"There is ample time for elected for elected representatives to change this legislation since most of the provisions in question will not take effect until the year 2013," Cooper writes. "In the unlikely event that this legal challenge does succeed," Cooper writes, "any decision will likely affect all of the states, including North Carolina, regardless of whether our state joins."

Cooper also said the new law provides some provisions that will prevent insurance companies from denying people health insurance because of Pre-Existing Conditions, or because they had a serious illness or accident.

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Sources: McClatchy Newspapers, Google Maps

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