Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric physician, started off the discussion Wednesday morning with a chilling statistic – there have been 860 deaths so far this year due to opioid overdoses. Virginia is on par to reach 1000 deaths by year end he said.
Dr. Northam, met with leaders at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital to discuss the opioid public health emergency and to highlight policy solutions he will push for in the 2017 General Assembly session and beyond.
Nancy Agee, President and CEO of Carilion Clinic
Steve Arner, President/CEO, Carilion Medical Center, Nancy Agee, President and CEO of Carilion Clinic, Dr. Willia
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in a Monday evening press release said that the federal government responded to Virginia’s lawsuit over the recently enacted federal health care law with a motion to dismiss the suit.
that as of matter of jurisdiction and procedure, Virginia has no right to bring this case now that Congress has the authority under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to order Americans to buy health insurance that the health insurance mandate is lawful under the taxing power of Congress.
Cuccinelli said his office would respond by June 7. The government then has until June 22 to reply to Virginia’s response.
“The federal government is forcing citizens to buy health insurance, claiming it has the authority to do so because of its power to regulate interstate commerce via the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. We contend that if a person decides not to buy health insurance, that person – by definition – is not engaging in commerce, and should not be subject to a federal mandate,” said Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli argued, “Just being alive is not interstate commerce. If it were, there would be no limit to the Commerce Clause and to Congress’s authority to regulate everything we do. If Congress has the power to force Americans to buy health insurance, then there’s nothing to stop Congress from forcing us to buy any product.”
In the press release Cuccinelli stated:
The U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause usually allows federal law to trump state law. But if a federal law is found unconstitutional while a conflicting state law is found constitutional, the state law will prevail.
Virginia has not joined other states and instead has chosen to defend a Virginia statute in a federal court in Virginia.
Cuccinelli claimed that other duties of the attorney general’s office would continue as normal as this case plays out.