Topeka U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Kansas Republicans, have joined a legal brief challenging the new federal health care reform bill.
The brief, signed by 32 Republican senators, was filed in the lawsuit brought by Florida and 20 other states against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Republican Senators Challenge ( .PDF )
The senators contend that the Congressionally-approved requirement that people purchase health insurance oversteps the bounds of the commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution.
"Indeed, in more than 200 years of debate as to the proper scope of the Commerce Power, the Supreme Court has never suggested that the Commerce Power allows Congress to impose affirmative obligations on passive individuals, or to punish individuals for failing to purchase a particular product," the legal brief states.
The brief further states, "Defendants would turn the Commerce Power into an impermissible federal police power."
Brownback, who is the governor-elect, has vowed to fight the federal health care bill.
But the federal government has argued that Congress has broad power to regulate interstate commerce under the commerce clause, and that the minimum coverage provision regulates conduct that has substantial effects on interstate commerce.
The penalty for not having insurance is an addition to an individual's tax liability, thus it falls within Congress' authority to levy taxes and make expenditures for the general welfare, the federal government argues.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of Pensacola, Fla., will hear arguments in the case next month.