Seven states suing to overturn President Barack Obama's health care law have nonetheless claimed subsidies available under the law for covering retired state employees, the Associated Press reports.
The states, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Nevada, are among 16 approved, along with about 2,000 private employers, for funds to defray the cost of early retiree health insurance, according to a list released Tuesday.
Some 20 states are challenging as unconstitutional the health care law's requirement that individuals carry health insurance or face a fine. The administration has countered that the law is valid under the Constitution's commerce clause and its tax and spend clause.
A spokeswoman for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said while Daniels disagrees with the law, he will nonetheless take advantage of provisions that benefit the state.
"Indiana will seek funds that help Hoosiers when there are no complicated strings or costs attached," press secretary Jane Jankowski told the AP.
HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius said individuals between ages 55 and 64, who do not yet qualify for Medicare, make up one of the most vulnerable populations in the health insurance market, and private companies have significantly reduced coverage of early retirees over the past 20 years. The retiree assistance is temporary relief until the health care law is fully in place in 2014.
For more analysis on the constitutionality of the shared responsibility provision, see this ACS Issue Brief by Simon Lazarus, public policy counsel for the National Senior Citizens Law Center.
You can also watch a panel discussion on the health care reform law's constitutionality from the ACS 2010 National Convention here. We talked with Lazarus about the states' challenges to the law following his participation on the panel.