Lawyer Says Florida Ruling Has No Effect on Federal Health Care in State

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

A lawyer for the state legislature says a Florida district court judge’s ruling on federal health care reform has no effect in Alaska.

In an analysis requested by State Senator Hollis French, Legislative Council Dennis Bailey called it “implausible” that the court’s ruling would be considered binding in the state, when all appeals in the health care litigation have yet to be exhausted.

That goes against what Governor Sean Parnell said last month when he declared the Florida opinion “the law of the land, as it pertains to Alaska.” Judge Roger Vinson ruled the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” unconstitutional in a lawsuit that Alaska was party to.

French – an Anchorage Democrat and a lawyer – says Bailey’s analysis shows the governor is wrong.

Several other legal scholars have reached the same conclusion as Bailey.

Parnell – who’s also a lawyer – says he relied on the advice of Attorney General John Burns to reach his decision. The governor’s spokeswoman Sharon Leighow says unless the Florida ruling is stayed or overturned, the governor is firm in his position.

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