Virginia launched its own legal attack on the new federal health care reform law. The Virginia Solicitor General argued in a Richmond federal court that Congress exceeded its Constitutional powers by requiring individuals to purchase health insurance. He argued that never in history has the federal government required citizens to buy a private product like health insurance.
The US Justice Department responded that the state of Virginia had no legal right to challenge the federal law. Because the mandatory insurance provision affects individuals, the Justice Department argued that only individuals, not the state, could bring legal action to block it.
Virginia claims it had to file the lawsuit because its legislators passed a state law making it illegal to force residents to buy health insurance. The judge in the case said he’d decide within 30 days whether to let Virginia continue its lawsuit.
The US Department of Justice asked a federal court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by state attorney generals on behalf of Florida and nineteen other states opposing the new federal health care reform law. It argued the law was a proper exercise of the constitutional powers of Congress to impose taxes and regulate interstate commerce.
The Justice Department also argued the states’ lawsuit should be dismissed as premature. The health care law requiring individuals to maintain a minimum level of health insurance doesn’t take effect until 2014. Since the effective date was several years away, its effects couldn’t be determined yet.
For over a year, the debate over the "Health Care Reform Bill" dominated the halls of Congress, the news channels, and probably many living rooms in US homes. Its main goals: To make radical changes to the insurance and health care industries and provide insurance coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans.
Finally, the controversial bill was signed into law on March 23, 2010. It didn’t stop the controversy, though.
Some States Battle On
During the year-long debate, especially in the final days before the US House of Representatives passed the bill, there were reports that some state attorneys general didn't like the law and would challenge in court if it was passed.
Some of them weren't just making threats. They filed lawsuits on the same day President Obama signed the law.