JACKSON — Gov. Haley Barbour, on behalf of the State of Mississippi, today joined the multi-state, bipartisan lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal healthcare law passed earlier this year.
“The Health Care Law passed earlier this year is an unprecedented expansion of federal power,” Barbour said. “The Constitution does not give Congress or the federal government the authority to force every American to purchase health insurance.”
Florida, the lead plaintiff in the case, has reached an agreement with its legal counsel to cap the costs of the litigation at $50,000. Joining in the lawsuit will cost Mississippi a fraction of that amount, according to the Governor’s Office.
The lawsuit is based, in part, on the federal government exceeding its authority by forcing citizens of our state to buy a specific product — in this case, insurance — and controlling the marketplace by determining how the insurance policies will be structured, Barbour said.
“This new law will ultimately force the state to raise taxes, as hundreds of thousands of new people will be added to our Medicaid rolls,” Barbour stated. “The regulatory changes, and some of the accompanying costs, begin immediately.”
Mississippi Code 7-1-5(n) authorizes the governor to bring suit on behalf of the State “if after first requesting the proper officer so to do, the officer refuses or neglects to do the same.”
Barbour asked Attorney General Jim Hood to join the Florida lawsuit on behalf of the state, but Hood declined to do so.
Barbour said Michael B. Wallace of Wise Carter, Child and Caraway, P.A., will guide Mississippi’s role in the lawsuit, and Wallace has agreed to provide his expertise at no cost to the state.