THE BLOG
05/30/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

37 State Attorneys General Apparently Fail to Protect Their Citizens and the Constitution

Thirteen attorneys general (all Republican but one) have instituted suit to challenge the constitutionality of the health care legislation recently enacted. They insist that the suits are not politically motivated, but rather are necessitated by their obligation to protect their citizens and the Constitution. By inference then, those who have failed to join must have violated or ignored their duty to their citizens and the Constitution.

The litigation and legislative proposals to repeal the legislation, supposedly in the interest of the public, if successful, will return us to the following: 40,000 people will die every year from the lack of coverage. Persons who are ill will be unable to obtain coverage. Those who become ill can lose what coverage they have. Companies can raise their rates at will. There will be virtually no competition. Medical, prescription and hospital costs will increase. Doctors' compensation will be reduced. 30 to 40 million will continue without coverage because they cannot afford it. Loss of employment, retiring or moving may mean loss of coverage. Persons despite actually having coverage frequently will be denied payment. Taxpayers will pay the costs of all those who arrive at hospitals for emergency care without insurance. Policy limits may limit the care needed. Those were the good ole days that these attorneys general want to bring back in the interest of protecting the public.

So this is how the attorneys general who have instituted suit, the Tea Party and the Republicans view aiding the public and protecting the Constitution. In all fairness, the Republicans advocate repeal and reform! I assume that means the major reforms for health care that were proposed or enacted during the recent Republican administrations including the last -- namely none.

I have no idea whether or not this legislation will actually increase or decrease health care costs and/or the deficit. Despite all of the predictions and forecasts, I doubt that anyone really knows. I do concede that a universal mandate for insurance coverage is unique and raises valid constitutional issues. The proponents of the legislation justify it on the basis that the fine is in essence a tax, which the government has the power to impose and that the commerce clause allows the government to regulate interstate commerce. No one can claim that the issues presented are settled law, and with a Supreme Court that concluded that corporations have the same free speech rights as individuals, anything can happen. However, to suggest that the legislation is so clearly unconstitutional that it mandates a legal contest is utter nonsense. The law suits are nothing but politics masquerading under the guise of principle.

In considering the consequences of "success" in such litigation, the role and duty of an attorney general requires consideration of the detriment to their citizens and not the benefits to their personal careers or the political party they represent.