By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - The fight over healthcare is far from over. The state Attorney General says your rights have been violated, and now he's taking steps to defend the sovereignty of Texas. On Wednesday, Attorney General Greg Abbott spoke to Midlanders about how he and officials from more than a dozen states are pushing a lawsuit against the federal government.
Abbott told NewsWest 9, at least 18 states, including Texas, are on board with a lawsuit to fight any law that mandates citizens to buy health insurance. He said the healthcare overhaul bill does just that, and on Wednesday he talked to West Texans about what will happen if the new reforms are not stopped.
"It's going to cost Texans thousands of jobs," Abbott told the crowd at Midland County Republican Women's Luncheon.
Abbott didn't hold anything back. From the way the Environmental Protection Agency is regulating Carbon Dioxide emissions, to claims of violating in gun rights, but the number one item in Wednesday's talks: the national healthcare bill.
"It's going to cost Texans more than 25 billion dollars in the first ten years of implementation," Abbott explained. "But more important than that, is the law turns the constitution on its head. The constitution was intended to limit Congress' power. This is the most expansive use of Congressional power ever. If Congress can force Americans to buy healthcare insurance, which is what the individual mandate does here, they can force Americans to buy anything."
Abbott also responded to questions about how the health insurance bill is different than other requirements, like car insurance.
"[Drivers are] engaging in an activity that people are choosing to engage in, and the state therefore has a right to regulate that on public roads," Abbott said. "If someone rides on a road in a ranch around the Midland area, that's not a public road, they are not required to have auto insurance."
State Democrats have already started to hit back on Abbott, saying it's a frivolous lawsuit and are concerned over using tax payer dollars to fund an effort against a bill that provides tax credits and more insight over insurance companies.
Abbott said he will continue to update his Facebook pages and state websites with updates on the lawsuit. However, he said their argument boils down to tenth amendment rights.
"The sovereignty of all 50 states has been encroached upon in violation of the tenth amendment," Abbott added. "If we have any hope to limit Congress' overreach, it has to be us stepping up in this lawsuit at this time."
Abbott is hoping the courts will be able to make a ruling sometime this year.