Texas Legally Challenges Healthcare Bill

Health care reform legislation that was passed by the Texas is one of 38 states threatening to challenge Congress's health care legislation. As Laurie Johnson reports — several state attorney generals say the federal healthcare overhaul is unconstitutional.

"It'll be a firework display of lawsuits."

That's Prof. Gerald Treece with South Texas College of Law. He says the legal threats and challenges to the federal healthcare bill will come from every sector, but much of the charge will be led by the states.

"I think that there's a potpourri of arguments, but they boil down to an attack on the federal system based on state sovereignty. Because the 10th Amendment says that the powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the people and the states respectively."

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is one of the 38 who plan to challenge whether the federal government has the right to require all states to participate in the program.

"I'm working with a group of attorneys general from across the country, both Republican and Democrat, where we want to send the strongest signal to Washington D.C. that this health care bill, while it may be well-intentioned to try to improve health care in America, the path they chose is an unconstitutional path. And so we will be filing a multi-state litigation, letting Washington D.C. know that they crossed the line in passing this bill by violating the constitution."

Abbott says that lawsuit will be filed tomorrow in Florida. He says the litigation will charge that the health care bill violates the Constitution's Commerce clause as well as the 10th amendment.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...