A group fighting the constitutionality of health care reform took their case to federal court in Detroit Wednesday.
Attorneys for the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor are representing four individuals who object to being forced by the federal government to purchase health care or face a federal penalty. They say Congress exceeded its authority by approving the health care legislation.
In response to the lawsuit, the Obama administration said the Law Center and four individuals have no standing to sue because they cannot show they are likely to suffer any harm as a result of the implementation of the reforms.
This is the second of 20 cases challenging provisions in the Health Care Reform Act, the first was filed by the state of Virginia.
This case in Detroit Federal Court is being filed on behalf of four plaintiffs, one of whom is Brighton attorney John Ceci.
“When the whole debate started I realized right away if this requirement to buy health insurance passes, I’m going to have to buy health insurance, and I don’t have any health insurance right now,” Ceci said.
“It’s a deliberate decision I’ve made and I felt like, ‘How can the government force me to buy something whether I want to or not?'” Ceci said.
Not doing so could mean paying penalties. Ceci figures that if he needs medical care he’ll pay out-of-pocket, as he’s done in the past.
In addition, federal attorneys contend that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce.
Attorney Robert Muise, of the Thomas More Law Center, argued in federal court on behalf of his plaintiffs.
“We think that this is beyond any authority that Congress can find in the Constitution,” Muise said.
Muise also argued that if Congress can mandate purchase of health insurance, what’s to stop the legislative body from also mandating something like buying a health club membership.
The response also said plaintiffs’ claims that the provision falls outside of both Congress’s authority over interstate commerce and its power to tax and spend for the general welfare “are flatly wrong.”
There is no word on when the court will issue an opinion. Judge George Steve told the parties he would get back to them as soon as possible.
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