Liberty University Files Lawsuit Against the Government Takeover of Healthcare

Mar 24, 2010

Lynchburg, VA – Prior to midnight yesterday, Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit against the newly signed healthcare law on behalf of Liberty University. The suit names as defendants the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, and the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, in their official capacities overseeing the enormous government expansion in health care regulations.

Jerry Falwell Jr. is Chancellor and CEO of Liberty University (LU), the largest Christian university in the world, with more than 58,000 students in its residence and online programs. LU employs over 5,100 people and is self-insured, offering quality health insurance and health savings accounts to its employees. Since it is self-insured, LU will be forced to pay a fee for each covered “life” (employees, spouses and dependents), and face many other burdensome, costly, and unnecessary regulations. LU is also concerned that the government takeover of the student loan industry, included in the reconciliation bill, will negatively impact its students. The lawsuit also includes a physician, and individuals who manage their own healthcare privately and do not want forced health insurance coverage. Also joining as a plaintiff is Kathy Byron, Delegate for the Commonwealth of Virginia, who voted in favor of a Virginia law that opposes the federal government takeover, and Lynchburg City Council Member Jeff Helgeson.

Congress lacks authority to force individuals and private employers to buy or provide health insurance. The law also violates the Free Exercise Clause and Religious Freedom Restoration Act by forcing the plaintiffs to subsidize abortion, the Free Speech and Association Clause by forcing plaintiffs to support and associate with private companies that cover abortion, the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses by preferring only “recognized” religions for opt out purposes, the prohibition on unapportioned capitation or direct tax because the tax penalty on uninsured persons is not apportioned among the states according to census data and is directed to private third parties, and finally that Congress is prohibited by the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 from using reconciliation to affect Social Security benefits.

Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said: “Forcing health insurance on every person and employer is a stunning example of arbitrary power the Constitution does not give to federal bureaucrats. In passing this law, President Obama and the Democratic Congress acted like the Constitution does not exist. But one day, the Supreme Court Justices will have their own captive audience and this brazen illegal power grab will come to an end.”

Jerry Falwell Jr. said: “We view the government’s actions this week as a frontal attack on the liberties and freedoms guaranteed to individuals by the Constitution. Liberty University is determined to defend its students, faculty and staff against this massive expansion of government that is arrogantly being imposed on the nation against the will of the people in violation of Constitutional principles.”

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