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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Brief in Support of Federal Health Care Law

Monday, August 22, 2011
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has filed a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit supporting the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and urging the court to affirm the states’ rights to protect the health and safety of their citizens.

“The law strikes an appropriate, constitutional balance between federal and state authority over the health care system,” Attorney General Harris said. “It establishes federal standards, backed by federal funding, to expand access to affordable coverage while conferring considerable latitude on states to design systems that work best for their citizens.”

Attorney General Harris, joined by nine other attorneys general, asserted in the brief that the federal health care law bolsters, rather than usurps, state authority to address problems in the national health care economy that the states cannot solve effectively on their own.

According to the brief, the health care law solves a national problem in a way that gives greater power to states by building on a successful model of cooperative federalism. Further, the brief states that the framework established by the law “empowers states to create enduring solutions to those problems, and to do so with federal support.” The attorneys general also argue that the minimum coverage provision is a constitutional and integral element of Congress’s interstate solution to the health care crisis.

California was joined in this brief along with Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.

In July, the same group of attorneys general filed a friend-of-the court brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia urging that court to affirm the constitutionality of the federal health care reform law. Attorney General Harris also filed similar briefs in April in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in March in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and in January in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The Eighth Circuit case is Kinder v. Geithner, No. 11-1973, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. ###

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