For Immediate Release                                                                                           Press Release
As Abbott Sues, Texans Suffer

Radnofsky Responds to Attorney General Abbott's lawsuit against health care reform

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].

"Mr. 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:

'Perhaps 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.  

Media Contact:

Katie Floyd: 713-357-3360(office); 713-858-9391(cell)

[i] 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."

[ii] 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?"

[iii] 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. ..."

[iv] U.S. v Southeastern Underwriters Associations. 322 U.S. 533 (1944).

Barbara Ann Radnofsky for Texas Attorney General
P.O. Box 55968
Houston, TX  77255

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