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Kentucky, Arkansas Steer Clear of Health Insurance Mandate Lawsuits


(Image: trumanlo under CC 3.0)

Although more than one-fifth of the union is gearing up to sue the United States government for the health insurance mandate included in the healthcare reform bill, two states have refused to get involved.

  • In Kentucky, the Democratic attorney general is refusing to join the multi-state class action lawsuit recently filed in northern Florida. Jack Conway believes the suit is a waste of the taxpayers’ money, and a political stunt by Republicans seeking election to higher office by catering to those against the forced purchase of Kentucky health insurance.
  • The Democratic governor and attorney general of Arkansas, Mike Beebe and Dustin McDaniel, also refuse to join the lawsuit because they think the constitutional argument against it will be unsuccessful. For them, it’s an uncomfortable reminder of the last time states’ rights were invoked against the federal government: in the late ’50s, their state attempted to prevent the desegregation of their public schools. While the two issues are by no means the same, similar legal arguments were unsuccessful in that case; it was found that federal authority superseded state sovereignty. Therefore, the requirement of purchasing Arkansas health insurance will most likely stand.

Either way, it appears that the issue of mandating people to purchase health insurance plans may be a question for the Supreme Court.

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