Virginia healthcare reform case begins, awaiting standing verdict
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and his legal team made their first defense of Virginia’s lawsuit against the federal government’s new healthcare reform legislation. Federal District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson listened to Virginia’s and the federal government’s arguments on U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ motion to dismiss the suit.

The federal government argued that Virginia lacks the standing to bring a suit, that the suit is premature, and that the federal government has the power under the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause to mandate that citizens must be covered by health insurance or pay a civil penalty. The government also made alternative arguments based upon its taxing power and the Necessary and Proper Clause.

“The government can’t draft an unwilling citizen into commerce just so it can regulate him under the Commerce Clause,” E. Duncan Getchell, Jr., Solicitor General of Virginia, argued on behalf of the Commonwealth in court.

Hudson stated he would likely issue his ruling within 30 days. If Virginia’s case survives, a summary judgment hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18 to decide if the federal healthcare reform law is unconstitutional.