Rob McKenna’s response

I requested that Rob McKenna stop his nonsense, noting that he was harming my small business. Here is his response, in which he implies that he does not drive cars and is further not aware that one who drives cars must carry insurance.


Thank you for taking the time to contact my office to express
your opinion about my decision to join the multi-state lawsuit,
led by the Florida Attorney General's Office, challenging
specific provisions of the recently enacted federal health care
bill.

I apologize for the delay in responding. Our office received more
than 25,000 contacts via e-mail, phone and U.S. mail and due to
the tremendous volume, cost and time involved, we are simply
unable to respond personally to each one. I appreciate the
opportunity to provide some additional background to you based on
common questions we've received.

Background: 

As you may know, in December 2009 I joined several state
attorneys general in expressing concerns over provisions in the
U.S.  Senate health care bill which appeared to violate our
federal Constitution. At that point, we were primarily concerned
about the special arrangement in the Senate's health care
proposal which permanently exempted Nebraska from paying its
share of the additional Medicaid costs mandated by the bill –
costs that all other states, including Washington, would
bear. The attorneys general also indicated there could be
legal or constitutional concerns with other provisions of the
proposed legislation, and we were waiting to see what ultimately
remained on final passage of the bill.

On Tuesday, March 23, 2010, after further legal analysis and
deliberation — and after notifying Governor Chris Gregoire of my
decision -- I joined what was then 12 fellow AGs in a bi-partisan
lawsuit challenging specific provisions as an expansion of
federal power beyond that we believe is allowed under the
U.S. Constitution.

Florida AG Bill McCollum filed this suit in the U.S.  District
Court for the Northern District of Florida. As a party to this
multi-state suit, Washington is one of 20 states now
participating to date.  As the lead state, Florida has negotiated
with a Constitutional expert to cap his fees for the case at
$50,000. Florida has also negotiated a cost-sharing agreement
with the bulk of the states to cover the costs of resources and
personnel to pursue the case. Washington is not participating                
in the cost-sharing agreement so the cost to the state will be                  
minimal.

What is this case about? 

As this state's independently elected attorney general, I take my
duty to defend your constitutional rights very seriously.  Health
care reform is much too important to build on an unconstitutional
foundation.

The two main provisions of our lawsuit deal with:

1) The unprecedented and unconstitutional mandate that individuals lacking
health insurance must purchase private insurance or face a fine; and

2) The massive expansion of the Medicaid program required by the
bill, which will unconstitutionally require states to spend
billions more on this federal program at a time when state
budgets are already in crisis.

The attorneys general who signed on to this lawsuit believe both
of these mandates represent expansions of federal authority that
violate the 10th Amendment, which states that "the powers
not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states
respectively, or to the people." We're also concerned
the individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause, because
never before has Congress required all Americans to purchase a
specific product in the private marketplace.

Does this lawsuit overturn the health care bill?

Contrary to what has been reported, I did not join this suit to
"overturn" or "repeal" the new health care
reform legislation.

In fact, this lawsuit will not affect most provisions of the
federal health care legislation, including among other things:

  • Allowing children access to health insurance regardless of
    pre-existing conditions;
  • Providing seniors a rebate to fill the so-called "donut
    hole" in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits
    prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700;
  • Banning lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual
    can have;
  • Prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to
    existing policy-holders when they get sick; and
  • Allowing young adults to continue to be covered by their
    parents' health insurance until they reach age 27.

While most provisions of the federal health care bill meet
constitutional muster, my fellow AGs and I feel strongly that the
federal government exceeded its constitutional authority in certain
provisions of the health care bill, and that the individual rights of
our citizens deserve to be given the respect that the Constitution
requires.

My office has received a tremendous amount of feedback on this issue
both supportive of and in opposition to the suit. Some people claim
that because the majority in Congress approved the bill, I should not
pursue these constitutional concerns. However, the Constitution was
adopted as a means to ensure people's basic rights are protected,
using the judicial branch and other checks and balances in our system.

These are issues of the utmost concern in our state and around the
country. Regardless of the positions or viewpoints they express, it's
important that Washington citizens are making their voices heard.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.

I hope this information has been helpful to you. For answers to more
frequently asked questions, a copy of the new law or a copy of our
lawsuit, please visit our FAQ site:


http://atg.wa.gov/page.aspx?id=25410
Sincerely, ROB MCKENNA Attorney General
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