BOSTON (WWLP) - President Obama's national health care reform bill is being challenged in the nation's highest court, and now the controversial act is getting some support from state Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Coakley has filed a brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the constitutionality of the health care reform bill. She was one of a dozen attorneys general to file testimony in favor of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), often called "Obamacare" by opponents.
Last summer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit decided that parts of the health care reform bill were unconstitutional, while other parts were constitutional. The parties appealed to the highest court, which is currently considering whether Congress went beyond its authority by expanding Medicaid and by requiring states to implement that expansion.
The attorney general says the requirements are sound. "The imposition, for instance, of an individual mandate as we do here in Massachusetts, is clearly rational: related to getting everybody covered, making sure everybody's in the pool. For people who are involved in the national healthcare market, it's merely a regulation of that market," Coakley said.
Democratic Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray says that Massachusetts' system shows that the president's plan will work. "I think what we've done here in Massachusetts shows that it works when you can bring together all the stake holders, public and private. You know we've got the highest level of health insurance for kids and for the public," Murray said.
Health care law supporters say that states can implement expanded Medicaid however they wish. Opponents argue that the fact they have to expand Medicaid in the first place is unconstitutional in itself.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the health care reform bill this March.