September 20, 2014

Iowa governor signs onto Florida lawsuit against federal health care

Governor Terry Branstad says the state is signing onto the Florida lawsuit against the federal health care reform law. Tim Albrecht, the governor’s spokesperson, says the lawsuit challenges the individual mandate of the federal healthcare bill that would force Iowans to buy the federal government’s mandate healthcare insurance.

He the law also expands Medicaid, making it very costly with a “one size fits all approach” that he says would force the states to cut other critical programs. Albrecht says the Republican governor is well aware of the impact of the potential impact the health care bill would have on the state budget.

He says the governor is in the process of putting together a five-year budget, and that gives him a clear picture of the impact on Iowa taxpayers. Brenna Findley ran unsuccessfully to become the state’s Attorney General, and signing onto the lawsuit was one of her campaign stands. Findley is now working for Branstad.

Albrecht says Findley is now offering legal advice to the governor on the lawsuit. Iowa is one of six additional states to join the 20 that were already signed onto the Florida suit. Albrecht says Virginia is doing its own lawsuit, so there are now more than half of the states that are challenging the health care reform law and the constitutionality of the health insurance mandate.

Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine are the other states that join Iowa in signing onto the suit.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, supports the federal health reform law. His office issued the following statement on the governor’s action:

On November 19, 2010 Attorney General Tom Miller, representing the State of Iowa, joined in an Amici Curiae (friends of the Court) brief supporting the federal government’s argument that the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) is constitutional. The brief stated that the law will help states fulfill their goals of protecting and promoting the health and welfare of their citizens.

“Congress, under the powers granted to it under the Commerce Clause, has the full authority to enact legislation like the ACA that has an enormous effect on interstate commerce,” Miller said.

Today, as Governor of Iowa, Governor Terry Branstad signed on in support of the State of Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al, lawsuit challenging the ACA.

According to Miller, the control and decision making concerning litigation involving the State of Iowa is within the authority of the Attorney General, not the Governor. “However, in this unusual set of circumstances, given what is at stake for the public, Governor Branstad should have the ability to express his viewpoint as Governor,” Miller said.

The Governor’s action, subsequent to Attorney General Miller’s brief, puts Iowa in the position of both supporting and opposing the ACA.