Senator Johnson among amicus parties challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
(NASHVILLE, TN), February 15, 2012 – State Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) was among 77 lawmakers in Tennessee and 400 state legislators nationwide who filed an amicus brief on Monday to reject the authority of Congress to enforce the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The brief was filed with the Supreme Court in preparation for the oral arguments scheduled for March 27th and is one of a multitude of briefs filed in preparation for the case laying out the unconstitutionality of individual mandates. Governor Haslam has also announced his support of a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by the Republican Governor Public Policy Committee (RGPPC) arguing against the constitutionality of the White House health care plan.
“We cannot allow Congress to trample on our state’s rights and the personal liberties guaranteed by our federal Constitution,” said Senator Johnson. “We must push back against this unprecedented abuse of power or there will be no limits on federal authority in the future.”
The individual mandate, which is the centerpiece of the new law, is the requirement that almost all people in the United States buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS for failing to do so.
The case is especially important to Tennessee and several other states because these states have enacted Health Care Freedom Acts according to Senator Johnson, who supported that legislation. The Tennessee Health Freedom Act, passed in 2011, provides that every person in Tennessee is free to choose, or not choose, any mode of securing healthcare services, and to purchase or not purchase health insurance, without penalty or threat of penalty. Tennessee asserts this right to protect the freedom of its citizens under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution. This principle is emphasized in the amicus curiae brief filed with the Court.
Two policy organizations, The Cato Institute and the Goldwater Institute, drafted and coordinated the briefs addressing the fact that key components of the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional and will not provide access to quality care.