Virginia hospitals brought a message to policymakers in Richmond Wednesday. “Please be mindful of the impact decisions have on patients access to health care and health care providers – health care is not a free market.”
Toni R. Ardabell, Chief Executive Officer at Bon Secours Virginia Health System
Toni R. Ardabell, Chief Executive Officer at Bon Secours Virginia Health System reiterated the message to policymakers to “do no harm.”
“Do no harm to our healthcare system that employs 1000s. Hold off on policy [in Richmond] as we see what happens in Washington, DC.”
Recently released data from Virginia Hospitals show that 27 percent of Virginia’s acut
Richmond (August 2, 2010) – (SEE VIDEO BELOW) A federal judge ruled today that Virginia does indeed have standing to bring its lawsuit seeking to invalidate the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The judge also ruled that Virginia had stated a legally sufficient claim in its complaint. In doing so, federal district court judge Henry E. Hudson denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss the commonwealth’s suit.
“We are pleased that Judge Hudson agreed that Virginia has the standing to move forward with our suit and that our complaint alleged a valid claim,” said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli and his legal team had their first opportunity in court on July 1, arguing that Virginia’s lawsuit was a valid challenge of the federal health care act and that the court should not dismiss the case as the federal government had requested.
The U.S. Department of Justice argued that Virginia lacked the standing to bring a suit, that the suit is premature, and that the federal government had the power under the U.S. Constitution to mandate that citizens must be covered by government-approved health insurance or pay a monetary penalty.
In denying the motion to dismiss, Judge Hudson found that Virginia had alleged a legally recognized injury to its sovereignty, given the government’s assertion that the federal law invalidates a Virginia law, the Health Care Freedom Act. In addressing the issue of Virginia’s statute, the Court recognized that the “mere existence of the lawfully-enacted [Virginia] statute is sufficient to trigger the duty of the Attorney General of Virginia to defend the law and the associated sovereign power to enact it.” He also found that even though the federal insurance mandate doesn’t take effect until 2014, the case is “ripe” because a conflict of the laws is certain to occur.
“This lawsuit is not about health care, it’s about our freedom and about standing up and calling on the federal government to follow the ultimate law of the land – the Constitution,” Cuccinelli said. “The government cannot draft an unwilling citizen into commerce just so it can regulate him under the Commerce Clause.”
The Court recognized that the federal health care law and its associated penalty were literally unprecedented. Specifically, the Court wrote that “[n]o reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce.”
A summary judgment hearing is scheduled for October 18, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. to decide if the federal health care law is unconstitutional.