Attorney General Roy Cooper and Governor Bev Perdue Will Not Defend Health Care Freedom

March 9th, 2011 by

Raleigh – On March 9, 2011 the NC House of Representatives failed to override the Governor’s veto of HB 2, “An Act to Protect the Freedom to Choose Health Care and Health Insurance.” The vote was 68-51 (with a vote of 3/5 being required to pass).

In a February 23, 2011 letter to the Governor, sent after the Health Care Freedom Protection Act was enacted by the General Assembly, Attorney General Cooper made several claims.  Only the highlights are mentioned here.

First he makes the obvious, but irrelevant point that the Supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution provides that State Legislators cannot enact laws that directly violate Federal law.  But he fails to note that the Supremacy Clause itself limits those Federal laws which have supremacy to those which are enacted “pursuant to the (U.S.) Constitution.”  Twenty-seven states have already received declarations by Federal judges that the provision in question is not “pursuant to the U.S. Constitution.”  If Attorney General Cooper had joined those states when we asked him to (last year) North Carolina would already have that declaration.

Attorney General Cooper was asked what the bill would cost by Fiscal Research before it was enacted.  His response did not mention any of the fiscal horrors he now claims but suggested that the Department of Justice might have to represent 800,000 individual clients in North Carolina at a cost of 8 million hours of attorney staff time.  Our Fiscal Research Division respectfully called these claims “excessive” and noted that North Carolina could join the Florida litigation (involving 26 other states – so far successful) by simply requesting to be included.

The individual mandate (which is the federal law that Attorney General Cooper claims the bill conflicts with) is not even effective until 2014 giving him plenty of time to join the challenge to this unconstitutional usurpation of federal power.

Here is a link to a February 28, 2011 memorandum from our nonpartisan Legislative Research Division which addresses all of the claims of the Attorney General.  We hope that you will read it.  It concludes, “Given the individual mandate found within the ACA does not take effect until 2014, any arguments that House Bill 2 is unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause are pre-mature.  Therefore, it is appropriate that the Attorney General pursue a defense of the General Assembly’s position if House Bill 2 becomes law.”

We are disappointed that the Attorney General, the Governor and 51 members of the House of Representatives have put themselves on the side of big government and against the citizens of this state.