Local Politics

N.C. won't challenge health reform law

Posted April 16, 2010
Updated April 17, 2010

— Attorney General Roy Cooper said Friday that North Carolina won't challenge the new health care bill signed by President Obama last month.

Seventeen states have already filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and Republicans have been pushing to get North Carolina involved in the increasingly partisan effort.

Health Care Costs GOP blasts decision not to sue over health reform

During a recent Council of State meeting, for example, the two Republican statewide officials, Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, wanted to discuss state funding for a lawsuit.

Hundreds of tea party protesters also have urged North Carolina to join in the lawsuit challenging the cost and mandates of health care reform.

Cooper said his office reviewed the health reform law and the other state challenges to it, and he believes the law is legal because Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce.

"This was a strictly legal review," he told WRAL News. "I think healthy debate is good, but it belongs in the policy arena in front of elected representatives."

Gov. Beverly Perdue said through a spokeswoman that she agrees with Cooper's decision.

"There Is ample time for elected representatives to change this legislation since most of the provisions in question will not take effect until the year 2013," Cooper said in a letter to Perdue outlining his decision.

If the law is overturned in the courts, he added, North Carolina would be covered by the decision, even though it didn't participate in the lawsuit.

Berry said that she respects Cooper's decision, although she doesn't agree with it.

Other state Republican Party leaders immediately blasted the move, however, saying Cooper, a Democrat, isn't standing up for North Carolina residents.

"The Constitution does not give the federal government the power to force North Carolina's citizens to purchase health insurance. North Carolina needs an attorney general who understands the Constitution and has the courage to fight for her citizens," GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer said in a statement.

"If the attorney general is willing to allow the federal government this kind of overreach of its authority, you have to wonder if there is anything he won't allow Washington to force on North Carolina,” Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said in a statement.

Some GOP lawmakers plan to introduce bills in the House and the Senate before the General Assembly reconvenes next month that would prevent the government from requiring people to obtain health insurance – a key provision of the new federal law.

Cooper noted in his letter to Perdue that provisions of the law address common consumer complaints in North Carolina, including prohibiting insurance companies from refusing to cover people because of pre-existing conditions or from dropping coverage on people who have suffered a serious injury or illness.

"Problems with health insurance and health care have led the list of consumer complaints in our office for the past five years," he said. "Instead of court fights and exaggerated rhetoric from both sides, it Is my hope that state and federal leaders will focus on the real health care challenges people face every day."

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  • okhicks Apr 22, 2010

    ONE MORE CORRUPT ATTORNEY GENERAL THAT NEEDS TO START PACKING. THATS RIGHT COOPER YOU ARE CORRUPT, AND NEED TO SHARE A CELL WITH YOUR OLD PAL EASLEY. YOUR JOB IS TO LOOK OUT FOR THE CITIZENS OF THIS STATE, NOT PANDER TO SOME SELF ANOINTED DICTATOR. YOUR OUT, AND DON'T STOP TILL YOU CROSS THE STATE LINE, YOU GUTLESS WONDER.

  • Bob3425 Apr 19, 2010

    gee, I am so surprized.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 16, 2010

    In that case, Roy Cooper needs to be voted out with Obama, Reid, and Pelosi for supporting the Socialist and Marxist takeover of healthcare in the United States.

  • atozca Apr 16, 2010

    "Instead of court fights and exaggerated rhetoric from both sides, it Is my hope that state and federal leaders will focus on the real health care challenges people face every day." Cooper

    lol, a little too late for that cooper, seeing how you are afraid to stand up to the dems who did us wrong. sounds like you are hoping everyone else is going to solve the problem so you don't have to.

    The fed. government has no right what so ever to force me to purchase health insurance. If we insist allowing the government to do this, then I want them to force everyone to utilize my business as well!

  • FE Apr 16, 2010

    Aside from whether the decision by the AG is correct or incorrect, the obvious (and discouraging) fact is that it was a virtual certainty that he WOULD follow the Obama/Perdue/Dem party lines. And, rest assured, he will continue to do so in the future so long as he is in office.

    The merit of any stand by the AG is totally secondary. He is merely being a "good Democrat" and hopes to gather some rewards down the road for being such.

    The wishes of the NC voters or the need to make a correct decision are virtually irrelevant to anything that Cooper now does.

    FE

  • blackdog Apr 16, 2010

    Thank you Roy.

  • Unaffiliated Patriot Apr 16, 2010

    No surprise here. I would expect as much. Left wing NC democrat liberal obots will follow the messiah to the ends of the earth and right out of office as soon as we get the chance to send them all packing. If we don't clean house, you deserve what you end up with after the next elections.

  • justcommonsense Apr 16, 2010

    And by the way, I was a democrat until about 8 yrs ago..I am now an independant. I watch and I listen...mostly I do not put all my faith and complete trust in any one man. That my friends is dangerous.

  • justcommonsense Apr 16, 2010

    Comparing auto insurance to health insurance is absurd! Totally different things! And please, quit using the children without insurance dying quote. There are thousands of uninsured and underinsured children with critical and terminal illnesses that are treated and cured every day through the Shriner's, St. Jude's and others. There are many sliding scale clinics and hospitals throughout this oountry that make it affordable for those without insurance. Granted not in every city or town, but typically within driving distance. It's a matter of education to the masses as to where and how.

    There are many other things in this bill that have absolutely nothing to do with healthcare. What we are seeing now is pure and simple at it's very best..taking power by any means necessary. Closed door tactics and bullying, calling folks who express their opposition anti-American and terrorists. Look into the eyes of the adored trinity in power now....really look. You won't like what you see. And by t

  • Deacons Apr 16, 2010

    Roy, you and Beverly need to leave office. I will do my oart to ensure that that takes place.

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