From the Governor's Office-
ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Georgia has officially joined 19 other states in challenging the federal healthcare reform act when the amended complaint was filed today.
The amended complaint now features 20 state plaintiffs and two individual plaintiffs; additionally, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) joined the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff on behalf of its members nationwide.
"Congress's healthcare bill will exact a huge cost on our state and curtail our economic growth," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "Congress has gone too far in infringing upon individuals' rights by imposing burdensome regulations on all Americans."
The original lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Treasury and the U.S. Department of Labor on March 23, 2010, minutes after the health care reform act was signed into law by President Obama.
Georgia is being represented by Frank C. Jones as Special Attorney General. Jones is joined by a team of other pro bono lawyers serving as deputy Special Attorneys General including: Mike Russ, retired Partner at King & Spalding; Jason Alloy and Josh Belinfante of RobbinsLaw LLC; Pitts Carr of Carr & Palmer; John Parker and Keith Blackwell of Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP; and Mercer University law professor David Oedel.
"Georgia's legal team has carefully considered our State's options for challenging the constitutionality of the federal healthcare reform legislation. We concluded that the Amended Complaint being filed today includes the strongest Constitutional arguments and, accordingly, that the interests of Georgia and its citizens are best served by joining in the Amended Complaint in the Florida action," said Frank C. Jones, Special Attorney General for the State of Georgia.
The individual mandate directly affects NFIB and its members by requiring those individuals to obtain health care or pay a penalty, giving NFIB a distinct basis to represent its individual members and join the lawsuit. The seven states who formally joined the lawsuit today are Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and Alaska.
"Small business owners everywhere are rightfully concerned that the unconstitutional new mandates, countless rules and new taxes in the health care law will devastate their business and their ability to create jobs. They are also concerned about their personal freedoms," said Dan Danner, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business. "This law is the first time the federal government has required individuals to purchase something simply because they are alive. If Congress can regulate this type of inactivity, then there are essentially no limits to what they can mandate individuals to do."
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of Florida on March 23, alleges that the new law infringes upon the constitutional rights of Floridians and residents of the other states by mandating all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage or pay a tax penalty. By imposing such a mandate, the law exceeds the powers of the United States under Article I of the Constitution. Additionally, the tax penalty required under the law constitutes an unlawful direct tax in violation of Article I, sections 2 and 9 of the Constitution.
The lawsuit further claims the health care reform law infringes on the sovereignty of the states and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution by imposing onerous new operating rules that Georgia and the other states must follow as well as requiring the state to spend additional dollars without providing funds or resources to meet the state's cost of implementing the law.
A copy of the lawsuit is available online at http://www.healthcarelawsuit.us.