Release: Progressive State Legislators Blast "Judicial Overreach" of Florida Health Care Ruling

Monday, January 31, 2011 


New York, NY – Today, leaders representing Progressive States Network and the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform issued the following statements in reaction to the ruling of U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Florida:

"Today’s ruling was not unexpected, but is still terribly distressing to millions of American families who are seeing their health security threatened by this kind of blatant judicial overreach," said State Senator Jack Hatch (IA), Chair of the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform. "Despite the conflicting opinions that have been issued in lower courts in recent weeks and months, we remain very confident that the health care law will ultimately be judged constitutional, that Americans will continue to be protected from insurance company abuses and that our states’ health care systems will be strengthened."

"This ruling puts us one step closer to the Supreme Court, where this issue will ultimately be resolved," said State Representative Garnet Coleman (TX), Chair of the Board of Progressive States Network. "Through this lawsuit, right-wing Attorneys General have been actively working to dismantle a law that is improving health coverage for families in all 50 states and is helping countless others afford coverage. State lawmakers in every region of the country agree that the law will ultimately stand up in court, which is why they are now working on implementing the Affordable Care Act in almost every state. Progressive state lawmakers in particular remain focused this year on improving the health security of families in our states through implementing strong state health exchanges."

In November 2010, a group of over 75 state lawmakers from 27 states working with Progressive States Network and the Constitutional Accountability Center filed a "Friend of the Court" brief defending the constitutionality of the health care law -- specifically against one claim by the plaintiffs that the law violated state sovereignty in requiring states to pay for a share of the Medicaid expansion scheduled for 2014. Today's opinion by Judge Vinson acknowledged that this provision was indeed constitutional.

(Read the State Legislators' Motion for Leave to File as Amicus Curiae (pdf) in Florida v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.)


Progressive States Network ( is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of progressive state legislators around the country and to the passage of state legislation that delivers on issues the issues that matter to working families: strong wage standards and workplace freedom, balancing work and family responsibilities, health care for all, smart growth and clean energy, tax and budget reform, clean and fair elections, and technology investments to bridge the digital divide.