Houston, Texas. March 23, 2010. Attorney General Abbott today sued to block 4.3
million Texans from receiving health care insurance[i]. Barbara Ann Radnofsky, 2010 Democratic
nominee for Texas Attorney General, responded to Attorney General Abbott's
partisan pursuit of a legal loser lawsuit.
Radnofsky: "Attorney General Abbott is wasting Texas taxpayer dollars on a legal loser lawsuit
for his own political, partisan, and personal gain. His grandstanding does nothing to protect the
people of Texas. His aim is to protect insurance companies. He is promoting
Greg Abbott and fundraising for himself[ii]
and his party[iii].
Abbott's attack on the health care bill is an absolute legal loser, wasting
Texas' taxpayer dollars. Congress has
the power to regulate commercial activity and tax. As the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly held,
the business of insurance falls within the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The Court wrote:
no modern commercial enterprise directly affects so many persons in all walks
of life as does the insurance business.
Insurance touches the home, the family, and the occupation or business
of almost every person in the United States.' [iv]"
The Bill, within 6
months, bars insurers from: denying people coverage when they get sick, denying
coverage to children with pre existing conditions, imposing lifetime caps on
coverage, and refusing to allow children under 26 to stay on their parents'
policies. Attorney General Abbott's regulatory inaction in Texas dovetails with
his insurance protective action today.
Attorney General Abbott
has done nothing to stop the anti-competitive, profiteering insurance company practices
in Texas leading to some of the highest insurance rates in the country. The
Attorney General's lawsuit fails to address the properly conducted Congressional findings of the importance of health care reform,
increasing the share of insureds and financial security in this
country. The cost of providing uncompensated care and the impact on
increasing insurance rates as a result were the subject of
Congressional findings. Congressional regulation/mandate clearly
involves activity within interstate commerce and was exercised for
national welfare. Moreover, if the Texas Attorney
General had standing to assert our individual rights as he claims, he
should have fought against unfair distribution of our
federal highway tax dollars. We Texans have been and remain net donors to the other states.
(Example: The 2005 $286.4 billion transportation bill, containing the bridge to
nowhere, guaranteed Alaskans received about $1500 per capita in highway
benefits, while Texans received a meager $36 per capita. Texas was a net donor
to the rest of the country that year of 8.7 cents of every dollar.)
Radnofsky: "Attorney General Abbott has a history of wasting Texas taxpayer dollars on
partisan, political lawsuits to try to advance his own career. He is in cahoots
with Republicans who are determined to see health insurance reform fail."
This is not Mr. Abbott's
first loser lawsuit. Attorney General
Abbott turned his back on the disabled when he wrongly claimed that the
Americans with Disabilities Act didn't apply to state buildings in Texas. In the case of Miller v Texas Tech, Attorney
General Abbott wasted taxpayer dollars on this loser of an issue all the way to
the U.S. Supreme Court. Acceptance of
federal funds clearly waived Texas 11th Amendment immunity under
express conditions of federal law.
During her 30 year legal career, Barbara Ann has
represented retirees, life-saving doctors, blood banks, children burned by
lighters, families of murder victims, unfairly treated businesses: a wide
variety of persons entitled to protection. Barbara Ann graduated with honors
from the University of Houston and the University Of Texas School of Law. She was honored as the Outstanding Young
Lawyer of Texas in 1988 and for the past 17 years she has been listed in "Best
Lawyers in America".
Prior to 2006, she was a partner at the law firm of
Vinson & Elkins in Houston, where she served as head of the Alternate
Dispute Resolution Section. She was the
first woman at Vinson & Elkins to have children as an associate and later
attain partnership. Texas has never had
a woman Attorney General.
Katie Floyd: 713-357-3360(office); 713-858-9391(cell)
Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) letter to Congress, March 17,
2010. "The Congressional Budget Office
(CBO) projects that 92 percent of non-elderly Americans will gain coverage by
2019 under this bill's provisions, meaning 4.3 million to 4.4 million of Texas'
current 6.1 million uninsured would gain good affordable coverage."
Attorney General Greg Abbott fundraising letter. March 3, 2010. "This letter reflects our effort to fight the
federal government's rapid expansion.
Will you help us fight back?"
Republican Party of Texas fundraising letter from Chairman Cathie Adams. "...this is not the end of the fight. It
is not even the beginning of the end of the fight. It is the end of the
beginning. And we must prevail..... Attorney General Greg Abbott is already
on the case and Texas will be party to a 10-state lawsuit that will challenge
the constitutionality of Obamacare before the ink on the
president's signature is even dry. ..."
U.S. v Southeastern Underwriters Associations. 322 U.S. 533 (1944).