Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said Tuesday that Congress has no constitutional right to force people to buy health insurance — and he'll sue to stop the proposal if it becomes law.
"Never before has Congress compelled Americans, under threat of government fines or taxes, to purchase an unwanted product or service simply as a condition of existing in this country," McCollum wrote in a legal opinion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
McCollum said the commerce clause of the Constitution doesn't allow Congress to tax or penalize someone for not doing something — in this case, not buying insurance. His office said it would sue the enforcing agency for the legislation, which is currently the Internal Revenue Service but could change if the legislation changes.
McCollum, a Republican running for governor, was accused of playing politics by the two Democrats running for his seat, Sen. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres and Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach.
"Florida has an insurance crisis -- 20 percent of our citizens have no insurance," Gelber said. "I have no clue what McCollum will do to solve this crisis, other than threaten to sue Congress when it tries to solve the problem."
Asked about what he'd do to help the roughly 4 million uninsured Floridians as governor, McCollum said it was a "political question" and "that's not what I'm here about today."
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