News Story

Four Michigan Residents Sue to Get out of Federalized Health Care

The Thomas More Law Center has joined the slew of legal action sparked by the passage of President Barack Obama's health care legislation.

The Ann Arbor-based conservative law firm filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of federalized health care in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The president signed the 10-year, $938-billion piece of legislation into law on Tuesday.

"This case isn't so much about health care, it is about what our Constitution allows and doesn't allow," said Robert Muise, the senior trial counsel at the Thomas More Law Center. "If Congress is allowed to have this power, there is virtually no limit to what law they can pass. They could force a person to engage in a commercial transaction."

The lawsuit states, "There is no enumerated power in the Constitution that permits the federal government to mandate that every American citizen purchase or obtain health care coverage or face a penalty."

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four Michigan residents who do not have private health care insurance and object to being forced to purchase it.

"Let's face it: If Congress has the power to force individuals to purchase health insurance coverage or pay a federal penalty merely because they live in America, then it has the unconstrained power to mandate that every American family buy a General Motors vehicle to help the economy or pay a federal penalty," said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, in a press release.

The four Michigan residents also object to being forced to pay for abortions, which the lawsuit contends is contrary to their religious beliefs and a violation of the First Amendment. Additionally, the lawsuit contends that federalized health care violates the 10th Amendment, which states all powers not cited in the Constitution go to the states and the people.

Muise said the issue has a better chance to get in front of the U.S. Supreme Court because so many other states are involved. The Associated Press reported that attorneys general from 13 states have also filed similar lawsuits. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is one of them.

Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the Supreme Court would be hesitant to take on such a big matter.

"The people who are challenging this have some things to point to, but it will be a difficult row to hoe," Wright said. "It's not hopeless. Yeah, there's a chance."