PERRY DEMANDS ACTION FROM A.G.

( – promoted by Mike “DD4RP” Rossettie)

Sends letter to Massachusetts Attorney General urging an immediate legal challenge

BOSTON – State Representative Jeff Perry (R – Sandwich) believes the recently-enacted federal health care mandate law is unconstitutional, and he has asked the state’s top law enforcement officer to consider taking legal action against it.

Perry, who is also an attorney, adjunct professor and candidate for Congress in the 10th Congressional District, sent a letter to Attorney General Martha Coakley earlier today asking her to consider challenging the constitutionality of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

According to Perry, the new federal law violates the 10th Amendment, which stands for the proposition that the federal government has no authority beyond the powers granted to it under the Constitution. Perry believes the enumerated power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce is not broad enough to allow Congress to mandate health insurance coverage for private individuals, and that its recent action therefore violates important principles of state sovereignty.

“In my opinion, the new federal legal requirement that individuals purchase a private health insurance policy or face penalties is unconstitutional,” said Perry in the letter. “I firmly believe that all Americans deserve quality health care coverage; however, all actions taken by Congress must conform to overriding constitutional provisions that constrain the power of our government.”

Perry’s letter requests that Attorney General Coakley add Massachusetts to the growing roster of over a dozen states that are considering formal legal challenges to the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. Such a lawsuit would potentially place the provisions of the law on hold until such time as a court could rule whether the law is in fact unconstitutional.

In addition to raising concerns about the constitutionality of the law, Perry said he is worried that the federal health care law will raise taxes, increase government spending and lower the quality of care, especially for senior citizens.

This is not the first time Perry has raised concerns about health insurance mandates imposed by the government. Several years ago, Perry was one of only two Massachusetts legislators to vote against a health care mandate bill that was being considered by the General Court. As part of his argument against that Bill, Perry raised objections relative to concerns about its costs and effects on Massachusetts residents.

In addition to opposing passage of the federal health care mandate law as part of his current campaign for Congress, Perry has advocated for real consumer choice of insurance products, including the ability for residents to purchase health insurance across state lines, as well as measures to reduce administrative burdens on health care providers and reform of medical and tort liability systems.

The full text of Perry’s letter follows below:

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April 5, 2010

Attorney General Martha Coakley

One Ashburton Place

Boston, MA 02108

Re: Request for Review of Commonwealth’s position of Federal Health Care Mandate

Dear Attorney General Coakley:

As you are aware, on March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law Public Law 111-152, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. I am writing to ask that you consider joining other states’ attorneys general and consider the constitutionality of the Law and how it will negatively impact Massachusetts.

As a Legislator, attorney and adjunct professor, it is my belief that the new Federal law violates the 10th Amendment, which clearly stands for the proposition that the federal government has no authority beyond the powers granted to it under the Constitution.

In my opinion, the new Federal legal requirement that individuals purchase a private health insurance policy or face penalties is unconstitutional under Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution (known as the Delegated Powers of Congress) and under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution (known as the Commerce Clause). While we have a similar provision under Massachusetts law, we cannot allow the Federal mandate to remain as it will greatly inhibit our future ability as a state to reform our laws.

I firmly believe that all Americans deserve quality health care coverage; however, all actions taken by Congress must conform to overriding constitutional provisions that constrain the power of our government. It is critical that states affirm our constitutional guarantees as provided in the 10th Amendment. Even if as a matter of public policy you may personally agree with the goals of the Federal legislation, I strongly encourage you to protect our state’s sovereignty and file an action as over a dozen other attorney generals have done.

Several years ago, I was one of only two Massachusetts Legislators to vote against a health care mandate bill that was being considered by the General Court. As part of my argument against that bill, I raised objections relative to concerns about its costs and effects on Massachusetts residents.

Today, I oppose passage of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 for similar reasons. I know it will raise taxes, increase government spending and lower the quality of care, especially for our senior citizens. Using Florida as an example, the lawsuit says the overhaul will add almost 1.3 million people to the state’s Medicaid rolls and cost the state an additional $150 million in 2014, growing to $1 billion a year by 2019.

But more importantly as stated above, I have serious concerns about the constitutionality of the Bill. The new Federal legal requirement that individuals purchase a private health insurance policy or face penalties is unconstitutional under Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution and cannot be allowed to be unchallenged by our state.

No matter where one stands on health care reform, conservatives and liberals should agree on the fact that our Constitution clearly and explicitly limits powers our founding fathers invested in the Federal government. Nowhere in the Constitution does Congress have the power to mandate the purchase of any product or service. Likewise, although the Commerce Clause provides Congress with the power to regulate the insurance industry, in my view the individual mandate provision of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 does not rise to the level of interstate commerce, which is the trigger for the Commerce power.

I am writing to respectfully request that you use your authority as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the Commonwealth to file suit against the Federal government and enjoin this Legislation until those questions are resolved by a court of law with competent jurisdiction.

Immediate action is required on your part to protect Massachusetts residents from serious infringement of their constitutional rights. Attorneys General in more than a dozen other jurisdictions across the Country are taking similar action to safeguard residents in their states, and I believe Massachusetts residents deserve similar protection. Our state’s sovereignty is at stake with the ever growing size, scope and cost of the Federal government.

I would also welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss this in person. Thank you for your attention and prompt response to my request.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Davis Perry

State Representative

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