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La Attorney General weighs in on federal healthcare ruling

POSTED: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 4:43pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 4:47pm

BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) -- The state's top attorney believes Louisiana is one step closer to blocking federal healthcare reform. That's after a Virginia judge ruled that a federal law requiring people to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.

President Obama has touted this portion of the law, called the Minimal Essential Coverage, as the crucial component to healthcare reform. Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says without that component, the law could need some serious rewriting.

"Part of the economics of it are to force everybody to pay, and that's part of the way that you can finance it," he says. "There's another way to do this. They got in a hurry and made some serious mistakes."

Caldwell has a similar lawsuit against the federal healthcare reform. The Virginia ruling gives merit to his own case. He says the backbone for his case rests in the fact that it just isn't lawful to push every person in the country to buy healthcare. "For example, if you have a car you have to buy car insurance. Then suddenly, everyone has to have a car."

His head council, John Sinquefield, heads to Florida court Thursday to represent Louisiana. He's hopeful there will be a similar ruling to the decision in Virginia.

Even if the judge rules in Caldwell's favor, there's a long way to go before the bill is changed. We could be waiting on a decision until July 2012 in the Louisiana Supreme Court alone, and there are more than 20 other similar lawsuits across the country.

The Virginia case, and ours, will likely make it all the way to the US Supreme Court before a final decision is made.

The White House plans to appeal the Virginia ruling. That provision doesn't go into effect until 2014.

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