Carcieri Calls for Lynch to Challenge Health Care Law, AG Fires Back

Governor Carcieri Calls Upon Attorney General Lynch to Join States Challenge of Federal Health Care Legislation

Governor Donald L. Carcieri today urged Attorney General Patrick Lynch to join 14 other states that have filed a complaint in the federal district court challenging the constitutionality of the federal healthcare legislation citing the new law as “a violation of the equal protection and commerce clauses and the 10th amendment, among other constitutional provisions.”

In a letter to the Attorney General, Governor Carcieri writes, “Among the provisions of the recently enacted federal health care legislation is one which forces the citizens of Rhode Island to purchase health insurance and the state itself to form and participate in insurance exchanges; failure to comply can result in substantial fines.”

The Governor called upon the Attorney General to “exercise its discretion to protect our citizens from this unnecessary and probably unconstitutional intrusion of the federal government into the lives of Rhode Islanders whose freedoms to make their own choices about health care should be preserved and protected.”

Governor Carcieri cites the 10th amendment of the United States Constitution, which clearly defines that there are limits to federal powers and places where only the State and its citizens have authority to act.   

A critic of the process by which the health care legislation was passed, Governor Carcieri reinforced his concerns that the law will “raise the costs of health care to Rhode Islanders, lower the quality of care, and shift another unfunded mandate on a state already overburdened with budget deficits.”



AG Lynch responds to Governor's call for lawsuit vs. “historic and long-overdue” health-care reform law

Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch responded this afternoon to a letter that Governor Carcieri sent him this morning in which the Governor called on Lynch to join 14 states that have filed lawsuits against the health-care reform bill that President Obama signed into law on March 20.

Lynch said he had “no intention of filing a lawsuit” because philosophically, he believes that “quality health care should be a right of all citizens, not the privilege of some citizens,” and legally, he believes that “the new law is a not an attack or infringement upon states' rights or the liberties of individual Americans.”

Lynch said the lawsuit that the Governor is suggesting has “no merit — and no chance of success,” stating, “Most constitutional scholars studying this issue say it is absolutely clear that the lawsuits that only 14 states have brought will not succeed.”

Wrote Lynch, “Consequently — and particularly in this time of extreme budget pressure, of which I know you are always mindful — I think undertaking such a lawsuit would be a time-consuming and fruitless waste of the tax dollars of Rhode Islanders on what I regard to be, in all candor, a political stunt.”

He added: “Using your logic, Social Security is a form of insurance that the federal government forces upon the states and infringes upon the liberty of individual Americans. In the unlikely event your suggested attack on the health-care reform law succeeded, it would open the door to abolishing Social Security in the United States because Congress could no longer tax Americans for the purpose of ensuring broader social services. How tenable would this be in Rhode Island, which has one of the oldest populations in the country?”