June 7, 2012
Big new case at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Carlyle.
A group of doctors is suing Virginia over a provision in its heath care law that forbids medical professionals from offering certain new services or purchasing certain types of equipment without first getting an official go-ahead from the state Department of Health.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria, charges Virginia with violating the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution — ironically the same charge the state is leveling at the federal government in requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty.
Plaintiffs in the case against Virginia argue that they are not able to import goods like MRI machines or CT scanners via interstate commerce because of Virginia’s “certificate of need” requirement for pre-clearance of new services or equipment with the state Health Department, which some say favors already-existing businesses — or the ones with the right connections.
“The nation may be divided over the federal government’s role in healthcare, but we should all be able to agree that state governments should not be harming patients by limiting their options just to funnel millions of dollars to politically connected businesses,” said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, which joined forces with Colon Health Centers of America and Progressive Radiology in filing the lawsuit.
Founded in 1991, the Arlington-based group describes itself as “the nation’s leading legal advocate for economic liberty.”
The irony of the situation was not lost on Robert McNamara, a lawyer for the group, which has filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing against the federal health care overhaul. A tremendous amount of attention has been focused on the federal government’s role in health care over the past three years, he said outside of U.S. District Courthouse in Alexandria on Tuesday.
Read more at this link.