Cooper: Anti-HCR bill "unenforceable"
Posted February 24, 2011 4:24 p.m. EST
Updated February 24, 2011 7:59 p.m. EST
UPDATED: See below
Sounds like Gov. Bev Perdue may have to reconsider whether she'll break out the veto stamp for H2, the anti-healthcare mandate bill.
GOP leaders sent the bill to her desk this week. Perdue has said she doesn't support the bill, but that a veto is "not worth the fight," since the fight over the federal healthcare overhaul will ultimately be decided in federal court, not by state law.
That was before today's memo from Attorney General Roy Cooper, which says H2 is unconstitutional and could cost the state federal funding for Medicaid and children's health insurance.
"States cannot pick and choose which federal laws the state will obey," Cooper, a Democrat, says in the memo. He says the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution makes H2 unenforceable in relation to federal law.
According to the analysis by NC Solicitor General Chris Browning Jr., the federal HCR bill covers a lot more ground than just the individual mandate. It also requires states receiving Medicaid funds to charge providers a $500 fee to pay for new anti-fraud programs.
But, Browning points out, "House Bill 2 provides that no law or rule may impose a fee on a person for 'contracting with...a public... health care system.'" If the state is barred from collecting the $500 fee, it could lose Medicaid funding for failure to comply.
Update: Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement via email this evening: “The Attorney General should be defending the Constitutional rights of North Carolinians, not the political interests of Barack Obama and national Democrats. We disagree with his opinion and don’t think states should bow down when the Federal Government passes unconstitutional laws.”