BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting a key provision in the federal health care law.

The high court is expected to hear arguments this year on the constitutionality of a requirement in the 2010 law that individuals must buy health insurance if they can afford to or pay a penalty.

Coakley argues in the brief filed Friday that a similar provision in Massachusetts’ first-in-the-nation health care law has been highly successful. She says 98 percent of state residents now have health coverage, the highest percentage in the country, and the cost of providing free care to the uninsured has dropped by $235 million per year.

The attorney general says the 2006 Massachusetts law served as a “blueprint” for the federal law

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (11)
  1. Uncle Andy says:

    Even though the Commerce Clause has been hijacked by tyrants since the New Deal, and taken far from its originally intended purpose by the Founding Fathers, it has never once been held to mean that the Constitution bestowed upon the central government the power to compel private citizens to purchase any good or service. The FACT that very question now sits in front of the Supreme Court of the United States proves that the Commerce Clause has never been held to mean that the Congress can force private citizens to purchase something.

    While we have our attention on the Commerce Clause, lets consult the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, on what it really was intended to mean. In a letter to a friend in 1829, Madison writes of the Commerce Clause:

    “Yet it is very certain that it grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the nonimporting, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government, in which alone, however, the remedial power could be lodged.”

    In other words, the Commerce Clause was intended as a power against the States. It was not intended as a positive grant of power for the central government to regulate every aspect of our lives. During the brief Articles of Confederation government, the States were levying import taxes on goods brought in from just over their borders. A nation cannot be unified as one if it is restricting trade amongst its own citizens. The Commerce Clause was intended solely to bar States from levying duties upon the goods of other States, and establish the authority of the central government to be the sole regulator of trade with foreign nations and the Indians.

  2. Italo says:

    Why not allow people who can’t afford huge health insurance premiums, to pay in installments for procedures and visits, just like many can now do through several plans for dentist office visits, procedures or cleanings? It’s not the best answer, but at least it would help many folks to be able to ease the pain and pay things down a little bit easier at a time, month to month.

  3. firemanmark says:

    The “law” that punishes working class people in Massachusetts for not having mandated health insurance has to be revoked.Where do these Socialist clowns like Marsha get off fining someone for not having insurance? How many illegals are “fined” for not having a passport,green card,or driver’s license or driving an unregistered/uninsured vehicle? The Liberal-Socialist Party wants to give handouts to all the quasi-citizens in exchange for their everlasting promise to vote (D).Read the Constitution Martha and tell us EXACTLY where it says the state or federal government can require ANYONE to have insurance of any kind.The only reason I have auto insurance is so some deadbeat doesn’t rob me of my home in court if I get in an accident in this ass-backwards state.You must have gone to the same law school as Eric Holder.He’s clueless,too!

  4. A says:

    Make it harder to sue doctors, hospitals and industries in the pharmaceutical field.

    Cost of medical will drop and it will become easier for all to afford. Possibly even through a public option we all chip in to via Federal or State taxes.

    But until someone addresses the legal side of people suing a doctor for catching a cold while waiting in the ER with a broken arm, there will be no reform, there will be no change and there will be no more affordable heatlhcare

    Ask any doctor what he/she pays in malpractice insurance and you will get an idea as to why an x-ray is 700 bucks

  5. petem says:

    I knew this would bring out the trolls. You can move on now you’ve made your comments and earned your $$ for posting.
    I really fear for the future of our country when fools like ‘Uncle Andy’ and ‘firemanfrank’ seem to represent conservative side of the discourse. Based on the rhetoric we hear every day from that side, I’d have to say they do.
    You are the same type of people who cheer the idea of people dying because they had insufficient health care because they didn’t have health insurance.
    Health Insurance should not be a perk, it is a human right and if your idea of this country recovering our place in the world doesn’t include universal access to healthcare/insurance your idea sucks.

    1. massman says:

      great response petem

    2. firemanmark says:

      I fear for this country when socialist/liberal idiots like you think that the rhetoric from the Pretender-In-Chief has any weight to it.You represent the smugness of the left who think they are morally and intellectually superior to all others.I see the real people as well as the ones who leach off of society.I see them each and every day when I’m doing my job.I became a firefighter to help people.Please,oh wise one,tell me where in the Constitution or Amendments it says the Government has the right to tell me I HAVE to buy health insurance.No one is going to die because they don’t have health insurance.Hospitals CANNOT REFUSE to treat a person. I have been self-employed,I have been jobless and I have seen the ups and downs of life.So don’t sit there and preach your moonbat B.S. to me.The arguement was about forcing people to pay for insurance,not about whether people need insurance.I’m all for helping a person in need..that’s what we do! Which “idea” sucks? I stated an opinion which I guess runs counter to your Utopian vision of the workers taking care of the non-workers.I was one of eight kids and we all learned to be self-sufficent.Iguess they didn’t teach that where you grew up.

  6. emom says:

    First of all,,, she states IF THEY CAN AFFORD,, where is she getting the numbers from,,, Has she seen the cost of premiums verses the cost of living verses the cost of unemployment verses the cost of NO MORE UNEMPLOYMENT.. she is totally out of touch..
    Healthcare in this state is a farce, its expensive,,, OH YEAH HERE IT COMES,, there are many plans that anyone can afford,, sure if you can travel to use it, or give up taking some meds, oh lets not forget most do not cover what you may have been taking or seeing,, like CHIRO….. and the med plans are a joke,,, 3 tier level and if you have been taking lipitor FORGET IT,,,, you will now have to take a generic,,, Sure now lipitor is in generic form,AH but will they even cover it…. still folks have to pay a higher co-pay, and a 80% coverage plan.. at best.. Oh I looked into them,,, and if you are on the threshold of JUST making to much for mass health and can not afford the premiums you are out of luck… Just pray you don’t get sick or hurt…. so many of the premium plans are out of whack,,, employers can pick and choose how the plans they offer you are built ,,,, and then you still are limited,,,,, it should be up to US on what we want to have covered not them…
    Yet any state employee that has health care do you know that they pay a far less premium than anyone else.. even those plans on the health connector.. I have seen them paying as little as $100 a month in premiums and getting the best ,,,,after all who do you think is paying for their premiums,,,, WE ARE the tax payers… and we have to pay the much higher costs so they can have the lower cost,,, that is what needs to change,,,,,, and stop the penalties for those that can not afford it,,, its outrageous,,,

  7. firemanmark says:

    I have tried twice to respond to petem but the wbz website wouldn’t post my comments. Sorry,petem,but the Utopian dream-world you live in doesn’t exist.By the way,I have more life experience than you could possibly imagine.I’m a troll? You sound like a typical Socialist-Liberal-Moonbat who thinks that “the Government” should take care of the needy.I have worked since age ten,been without a job at times,paid double social security ‘tax’ when I was self-employed (during which time I paid for my own health insurance),and for the last 18 years have saved lives doing my job.No one can be denied care at any hospital.Please tell me where in the Constitution or Amendments it says that the state or feds can make me have insurance.I see the people who are needy and I see the ones who won’t help themselves.What’s your claim to fame? Go back to “occupy” something and leave the discussion to the grown ups!

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