On April 20, 2010, Governor Sean Parnell announced that
Alaska would be filing litigation against the recent Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted by Congress and supported by Pres. Barack Obama and Sen. Mark Begich. Begich expressed his opposition to the State’s lawsuit.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains an individual mandate that requires
U.S. citizens to purchase federal government-approved “qualifying” health insurance coverage beginning in 2014. Those who refuse to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan will have to pay a tax penalty of $695 per year or 2.5 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher.
“With the enactment of health care legislation, the federal government has reached well beyond the scope of its authority — into the lives and freedom of Alaskans. This case is ultimately about the extent to which the federal government can exert power over the states. It has critical implications for the liberty interests of all American citizens.
Alaska must join this important litigation. Health insurance coverage is not in the public interest if it’s achieved through a constitutional short-cut that expands federal power at the expense of states’ rights and the liberties of citizens.”—Gov. Sean Parnell announcing the State’s joining with at least 17 other states in challenging the federal government’s foray into the health care.
Attorney General Dan Sullivan opined, “The individual mandate is an unprecedented federal action. Never before has the federal government required people to buy a good or service as a condition of being a lawful resident in the
United States. The authority to require American citizens to comply with this mandate should be challenged as beyond the scope of Congress’ Commerce Clause powers as enumerated in Article I of the Constitution. By joining this suit, we are defending the bedrock constitutional principles of federalism, limited government, and individual liberty.”
There has been much criticism of the governor’s failure to join with the other states challenging the health care plan enacted by the Obama Administration and the liberal Congress. In this act, Gov. Parnell takes a bit of wind out of the sails of his detractors.
The Attorney General’s opinion and an executive summary supporting the governor’s action can be reviewed at:
AG’s Opinion: http://www.law.alaska.gov/pdf/opinions/opinions_2010/10-002_ReconciliationAct.pdf
Governor’s Press Release: http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/press-room/full-press-release.html?pr=5349