The Obama administration has been fighting for healthcare reform in the court of public opinion. Now it's likely it will have to do the same in the court of law. A federal judge in Florida indicated he'll likely allow 20 states to proceed, at least in part, with a lawsuit that challenges the new Democratic healthcare bill.
The decision gives validation to detractors of the bill, including Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum who originally filed the lawsuit with 19 other mostly Republican attorney generals. They argue the bill is unconstitutional because it would force people to buy healthcare insurance. Another point of contention is whether the state should pay additional Medicaid expenses not covered by the federal government.
The Democrats have recently launched a multimillion-dollar PR effort, called “Health Information Campaign”, designed in part to counter the anti-reform messages in the media. Had the federal government successfully argued for the dismissal of the lawsuit, it would have moved the PR campaign into a position of strength. As it stands, campaign organizers will not only have to justify the plan itself, but also the constitutionality of it.
Judge Roger Vinson set a hearing date for oral arguments starting December 16, although he won't rule on which parts of the lawsuit will move forward until October 14.