Healthcare Lawsuit

As Georgia's chief legal officer, Attorney General Sam Olens has led the State's legal fight against the President's health care reform law. The State of Georgia originally joined the federal multi-state lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the name of Governor. Immediately after being sworn-in, General Olens amended Georgia's filing and added the Georgia Office of the Attorney General to the lawsuit. Ultimately, 26 states[1], including Georgia, and the NFIB joined the lawsuit. Eventually, with a majority of the states challenging the ACA, the lawsuit made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), after being called frivolous by many critics. 

Although the Obama Administration assured the American people that the ACA was not a tax, on June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the ACA as constitutional under the federal government's taxing authority. While certainly disappointing, the states did prevail on their two main arguments against the ACA. The majority of the Court agreed with Georgia and the 25 other states that the federal government cannot force people to buy health insurance under the Commerce Clause and that the federal government cannot coerce states into accepting a massive and unaffordable expansion of the Medicaid program.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts said:

"Upholding the Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause would give Congress the same license to regulate what people do not do. The Framers knew the difference between doing something and  doing nothing.  They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it.  Ignoring that distinction would undermine the principle that the Federal Government  is a government of limited andenumerated powers.  The individual mandate thus cannot be sustained under Congress’s power to 'regulate Commerce.'”

Prior to the SCOTUS decision, two lower courts ruled for Georgia and its fellow plaintiffs, finding the individual mandate unconstitutional.

The SCOTUS ruling can be viewed here.

January 18, 2011 Press Release

January 31, 2011 Press Release

March 3, 2011 Statement

States' 11th Circuit Brief

August 12, 2011 Joint Statement by Governor Deal and Attorney General Olens

September 28, 2011 Statement by Attorney General Olens and States' Petition

Novermber 14, 2011 Statement by Attorney General Olens

March 23, 2012 Press Release Previewing Oral Arguments

Attorney General Olens' Statement on First Day of Oral Argument

Attorney General Olens' Statement on Second Day of Oral Argument

Attorney General Olens' Statement on Third Day of Oral Argument

Reaction from Governor Deal and Attorney General Olens to Supreme Court Ruling

[1] The states that are now party to the litigation in Florida are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.