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Republicans to move SC against healthcare bill

Last updated on: March 23, 2010 14:50 IST

With US President Barack Obama set to sign into law the landmark healthcare reform bill, the opposition Republican party on Tuesday announced it would move the Supreme Court against the legislation approved by Congress.

The Republicans, who failed miserably from preventing the Democrats to get the bill passed in the House of Representatives on Sunday night with the required 216 votes, said they would challenge the legislation constitutionally in the Supreme Court and demanded that it be repealed.

The bill carries a price-tag of $940 billion in 10 years and would ban insurance companies from practices like denying coverage for pre-existing illness, dropping people from coverage when they get sick or capping life time coverage.

Undeterred by the Republican response, a jubilant White House announced that Obama would be signing the bill into law shortly. White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, said he did not expect the Republican lawsuit to succeed.

"My sense is that a lot of big pieces of legislation are challenged in some ways," he said. "I think that for many decades, the Supreme Court has recognised Congress' authority under the Commerce Clause to regulate activities relating to inter-state commerce," Gibbs said.

Florida's Bill McCollum, the Republican Attorney General, announced at a news conference that the lawsuit would be filed once Obama signs the health care bill into law. He said he will be joined by his counterparts from the Republican states of Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

The health care bill "infringes on each state's sovereignty," said McCollum. Further, Virginia's Republican Attorney General said his state too would file a lawsuit challenging the health care bill.

"This bill is terribly wrong for America, and I call on you to join with me to challenge this bill in every way we can," said a fund-raising letter from Senator John McCain, who also said that Democrats should not expect much cooperation from Republicans the rest of this year.

McCain and another Republican senator decried the effect health reform legislation has had on the Senate, a day after the House passed the upper chamber's bill.

"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during an interview to an Arizona radio affiliate. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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