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Rx for Reform  Updated: April 16, 2010

States Challenge Health Care Reform

Legislators in 38 states have introduced legislation opposing the new health care reform law signed by President Obama, and attorneys general in 14 states have filed lawsuits against the federal government challenging its constitutionality -- particularly the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Below, you can explore details on the legislative and legal challenges in your state.
Filter:
State Percent Uninsured Legal Challenge Legislative Challenge Legislation Status
Alabama
12.0%
Republican Attorney General Troy King has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. Proposed constitutional amendment would "prohibit any person, employer, or health care provider from being compelled to participate in any health care system." Pending in House committee as of March 29. Passed Senate as of April 1.
Alaska
19.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. In committee as of March 12
Arizona
19.0%
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. Brewer asked the state legislature for authority to join the lawsuit after Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard declined to do so. A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance or requiring employers to provide it. A second bill would keep Arizona out of any public plan the federal government creates. Passed Legislature and amendment is on November ballot
Arkansas
17.0%
No action A proposed state law would "prevent involuntary enrollments in health care insurance programs." The 2010 legislative session ended without action.
California
18.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit "the effectiveness or enforcement of a state or federal program that (1) requires individuals to obtain health care coverage, (2) requires health care service plans or health insurers to guarantee issue contracts and policies to all applicants, (3) requires employers to either provide health care coverage to their employees or pay a fee or tax to the state or the federal government in lieu thereof, (4) allows an entity created, operated or subsidized by the government to compete with health care service plans and health insurers in the private sector, or (5) creates a single-payer health care system, unless the program is approved by the electorate by ballot measure." Filed Feb. 19; no action yet
Colorado
16.0%
GOP Attorney General John Suthers has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A resolution would "reserve the opportunity and ability of the State of Colorado and its citizens, under the state's and the people's Tenth Amendment rights, to opt out of any obligations due or participation required in any new federal health care legislation." Postponed indefinitely by Judiciary Committee
Connecticut
10.0%
No action No action
Delaware
11.0%
No action A non-binding resolution would state opposition to the passed federal health reform and encourage its congressional delegation to create a provision that would require states to opt-in to federal health reform regulations. Filed and sent to committee on March 18
District of Columbia
10.0%
No action No action
Florida
20.0%
Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum has filed a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. Florida is taking the lead on this multi-state lawsuit. A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance or employers to provide it. In committee
Georgia
18.0%
Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue has hired a private attorney to represent Georgia in the multi-state lawsuit against health reform, after Democratic Attorney General Thurbert Baker declined to file suit. A proposed state law would prohibit individual and employer mandates, as well as requirements for providers to participate in "any health care system." Two resolutions "would direct the attorney general to 'initiate a formal investigation into the constitutionality of the special exemption set forth in the United States Senate's version of this national health care legislation and explore the availability of all other legal challenges.'" The bill passed the Senate and is awaiting a House vote. The resolutions are in committee as of March 18.
Hawaii
8.0%
No action No action
Idaho
15.0%
Republican Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. An amendment to state law says "that every person within the state of Idaho is and shall be free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty." A "non-binding memorial" urges Congress to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing individual insurance mandates. The law passed and was signed by Gov. Butch Otter on March 17. The non-binding memorial passed the House and Senate on March 29.
Illinois
13.0%
No action A proposed state law would say that no individual could be required to buy health insurance "except as required by a court or a state agency." Two proposed non-binding resolutions would request the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability to determine the cost of the federal reform law to Illinois, and would urge the state's attorney general to file a lawsuit challenging the law's constitutionality. Pending in committee
Indiana
12.0%
Attorney General Greg Zoeller has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. Two proposed constitutional amendments would have banned the individual mandate and endorsed individuals' rights to pay for health care directly. Neither measure passed by the end of the regular legislative session.
Iowa
9.0%
No action Two proposed state laws would reinforce individuals' right to buy health care directly and would prohibit the state from imposing a mandate to have insurance. Did not pass the end of the legislative session, April 12.
Kansas
12.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would outlaw individual insurance mandates and state that individuals and employers may purchase health care directly. Did not pass the House; returned to committee
Kentucky
15.0%
No action A proposed state law would outlaw individual insurance mandates, allow individuals and employers to purchase health care directly and prohibit the state from "participating in or complying with any federal law, regulation or policy that would compromise the freedom of choice in the health care." Passed out of committee on March 24
Louisiana
19.0%
Democratic Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A proposed state law and constitutional amendment would prohibit laws mandating insurance coverage. In committee
Maine
10.0%
No action No action
Maryland
13.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. Failed in committee
Massachusetts
5.0%
No action No action
Michigan
12.0%
Republican Attorney General Mike Cox has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. Failed in committee
Minnesota
9.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. Did not pass committee by the end of the 2009 legislative session; carried over to 2010
Mississippi
18.0%
Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood declined to file a lawsuit. Republican Governor Haley Barbour has said he plans to join the multistate lawsuit anyway and will hire a private attorney to represent Mississippi. A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance or employers to provide it. Failed in committee
Missouri
13.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance or employers to provide it. Passed House; requires Senate vote
Montana
16.0%
Attorney General Steve Bullock, a Democrat, said he wouldn't sue after his office concluded it is “highly unlikely (the bill) will be found unconstitutional,” according to the Billings Gazette. No action
Nebraska
13.0%
Republican Attorney General Jon Bruning has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. In committee
Nevada
18.0%
Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons has said he he will hire a private attorney to represent Nevada in the multi-state lawsuit against health reform after Democratic Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto declined to join the suit; Masto has said she may take legal action to stop the Governor. No action
New Hampshire
10.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. A state law would prohibit Medicaid expansion unless paid for by the federal government. Both measures failed.
New Jersey
15.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. In committee
New Mexico
23.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. Failed
New York
14.0%
No action No action
North Carolina
16.0%
No action No action
North Dakota
11.0%
Republican Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. Failed in 2009 session
Ohio
12.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. In committee
Oklahoma
16.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. In committee
Oregon
17.0%
No action No action
Pennsylvania
10.0%
Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A proposed state law would prohibit the state from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. Carried over from 2009 session; in committee
Rhode Island
11.0%
No action No action
South Carolina
16.0%
Republican Attorney General Henry McMaster has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A proposed state law prohibiting the state from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. The title says the resolution aims "to preempt any federal law or rule that restricts a person's choice of private health care providers or the right to pay for medical services." In committee
South Dakota
11.0%
Republican Attorney General Marty Jackley has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit the state from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. Failed in committee
Tennessee
15.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. In committee
Texas
25.0%
Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. No action
Utah
13.0%
Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A state law amends "provisions related to the state's strategic plan for health system reform to respond to federal reform efforts; prohibits a state agency or department from implementing any provision of the federal health care reform without first reporting to the Legislature: 1) whether the federal act compels the state to adopt the particular federal provision; 2) consequences to the state if the state refuses to adopt the particular federal provision; and 3) impact to the citizens of the state if reform efforts are implemented or not implemented; 4) would require any agency of the state not to implement any part of federal health care reform passed by the U.S. Congress after March 1, 2010, unless the department or agency reports to the Legislature and the Legislature passes legislation "specifically authorizing the state's compliance or participation in, federal health care reform." Signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert on March 23
Vermont
10.0%
No action No action
Virginia
14.0%
Republican Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli has filed a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate. This lawsuit is separate from the multistate lawsuit led by the Florida Attorney General. A state law forbids requiring individuals to purchase health insurance. Sent to governor; amended and passed again by both houses; became law on March 10
Washington
12.0%
Republican Attorney General Robert M. McKenna has joined a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate, as well as other demands on the states such as running a health care exchange and expanding Medicaid. A proposed state law would prohibit the state from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. In committee
West Virginia
15.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. Did not pass in committee by the legislative deadline
Wisconsin
9.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. In committee
Wyoming
14.0%
No action A proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit laws from requiring individuals to purchase insurance. It states "the federal government shall not interfere with an individual’s health care decisions.” Failed
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, National Conference of State Legislatures, Associated Press, New York Times
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