Gov. Don Carcieri wants Rhode Island to join other states in suing the federal government over the constitutionality of the health care reform bill. Below is a summary of his letter to Attorney General Patrick Lynch, from the governor’s office:
Governor Donald L. Carcieri today urged Attorney General Patrick Lynch to join 14 other states that have filed a complaint in the federal district court challenging the constitutionality of the federal healthcare legislation citing the new law as “a violation of the equal protection and commerce clauses and the 10th amendment, among other constitutional provisions.”
In a letter to the Attorney General, Governor Carcieri writes, “Among the provisions of the recently enacted federal health care legislation is one which forces the citizens of Rhode Island to purchase health insurance and the state itself to form and participate in insurance exchanges; failure to comply can result in substantial fines.”
The Governor called upon the Attorney General to “exercise its discretion to protect our citizens from this unnecessary and probably unconstitutional intrusion of the federal government into the lives of Rhode Islanders whose freedoms to make their own choices about health care should be preserved and protected.”
Governor Carcieri cites the 10th amendment of the United States Constitution, which clearly defines that there are limits to federal powers and places where only the State and its citizens have authority to act.
A critic of the process by which the health care legislation was passed, Governor Carcieri reinforced his concerns that the law will “raise the costs of health care to Rhode Islanders, lower the quality of care, and shift another unfunded mandate on a state already overburdened with budget deficits.”