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States respond in health care overhaul lawsuit

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By The Staff

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Twenty states and the nation's most influential small business lobby plan Friday to file their response to the government's attempt to dismiss their lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The Justice Department in June asked a federal judge to dimiss the lawsuit, saying the U.S. District Court in Pensacola lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over some of the lawsuit's claims. They also said other parts of the lawsuit failed to state claims upon which relief can be granted.

The states, the National Federation of Independent Business and several individual taxpayers will file their response in Pensacola federal court.

A key issue raised by their lawsuit is whether the federal government can require individuals to purchase health care insurance and fine those who don't.

The court must hear the case to preserve individual liberties granted through the Constitution, said Karen Harned, executive director of the Small Business Legal Center of the National Federation of Independent Business.

"The federal government does not have the authority to regulate an individual's decision to do nothing. If they did, then they could force us to purchase any product they want," she said.


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