Wisconsin

This article is part of the State Status and News series related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

On March 25, 2010, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle was reported to reject Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's request to join the Florida litigation.

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has turned down the attorney general's request to file a lawsuit to block portions of the new health care law. J.B. Van Hollen made the request in a letter sent to the governor. The republican attorney general said he believes there is suffiicent legal basis to challenge the portion of the law that requires people to carry health insurance. But Doyle, who's a democrat and a supporter of the bill, turned down that request.

WDIO-TV. “Governor Doyle Rejects Health Care Lawsuit”. ABC WDIO-3. March 25, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-05.

Nineteen states and counting! So far, 19 states are suing the federal government over health care. Wisconsin attorney general J.B. Van Hollen wants to be number 20. He wants to join that group, but so far, he has been blocked. Well, there's news tonight.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen joins us live again. Sir, so I understand that this is, at least in your mind, moving forward a little bit in terms of you want to sue, your Democratic governor says no, and you need authority from the state legislature in order to go forward, or from the governor. So what are you going to do?

J.B. VAN HOLLEN, R, WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, so far, we've got resolutions been submitted by one state legislator and one state senator that have been signed onto by a number of other legislators, asking to poll (ph) the resolutions to the floor so that we can actually have a vote in Wisconsin in one or both bodies of the legislature. If we can get one of those resolutions to the floor of one of the bodies and get an up- or-down vote, I'll be satisfied. If our elected representatives, who under law can give me authority to bring the suit, say, We're not going to do it, and they're willing to stand up one at a time and put their name on this document saying yes or no, by all means, I'll abide by that. That's what my job is.

[…]

VanSusteren, Greta. “Will Wisconsin Join Other States in Health Care Lawsuit?”. On the Record (Fox News). April 8, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-08.

The Senate refused to allow state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to file a lawsuit to block implementation of the federal health care reform in Wisconsin.

Democrats who control the Senate rejected 18-15 a resolution by Republicans to authorize the lawsuit.

More than a dozen attorneys general in other states have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the sweeping changes to the health care system recently approved by Congress. Like those officials, Van Hollen has said he believed the new law violates the U.S. Constitution because it requires everyone to buy insurance and penalizes those who do not with higher taxes - measures he has called “unprecedented and unique.”

But Van Hollen needs the authorization of the Senate, the Democrat-controlled Assembly or Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle to bring the lawsuit.

Democrats in the Senate said they were siding with uninsured state residents who are in need of health care. Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Wausau) said Republicans were “standing up for insurance companies.”

Stein, Jason. “Senate votes down suit over health care reform”. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Journal Sentinel. April 20, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-21.