Robert Rainville, on Thursday’s District Court Ruling that the Federal Healthcare Mandate on Individuals is Without Precedent

The question below was asked to the campaign of Independent Attorney General candidate Robert Rainville, following Thursday’s District Court ruling allowing the challenge to the Federal healthcare law challenge filed by a group of state Attorney Generals to go forward…

In April, Mr. Rainville responded to an inquiry from Providence Journal columnist Edward Fitzpatrick regarding the new Federal healthcare law by saying “there are possible constitutional challenges. You can make arguments on both sides, so it’s premature to say”. In August, Mr. Rainville responded to a follow-up inquiry from Anchor Rising by saying “I believe there is momentum and the legal basis for success in the legal challenges to this Federal Health Care legislation.” This past Thursday, Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District Court of Florida ruled in a suit involving the new law by ruling that “at this stage in the litigation, this is not even a close call…The power that the individual mandate seeks to harness is simply without prior precedent” in regard to allowing a challenge to the law by 20 state Attorney Generals to proceed. Does this most recent ruling impact Mr. Rainville’s position on the actions he might consider taking on behalf of the citizens of Rhode Island, with respect to the new Federal healthcare law, if elected as their Attorney General?
Robert Rainville responded by providing two (on-point) documents, a letter to current Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, dated the day after the ruling…
Dear Mr. Lynch,
I am writing to formally ask your serious consideration of joining 20 other state Attorneys General in their case to declare the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be un-Constitutional.
I have reviewed this legislation, as I am sure you have as well, and I hope we agree the new taxes it imposes and requirements that mandate citizens to obtain healthcare coverage violates provisions of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution and is unprecedented.
I am sure we can also agree this legislation imposes additional financial burdens on the State of Rhode Island, our small businesses and private citizens which they can ill afford at this time.
Today’s news accounts that the Florida District Court is allowing certain provisions of this legislation to go to trial is good news for all of us who are concerned about these new over-reaching efforts of the federal government that place mandates on individual rights and liberties. Unfortunately, those news accounts revealed that Rhode Island was not among those states participating in the litigation.
While we can all agree we need some level of health care reform in the United States, this Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is seriously flawed and is NOT the answer.
Again, I implore your serious consideration to join with other like-minded state Attorneys General in the litigation being heard in the Florida District Court.
…and a campaign press release dated October 3…
“I am specifically bothered that the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’) could be unconstitutional. Nowhere does the Constitution grant the power to force individuals to buy a product,” says Independent Attorney General candidate, Robert Rainville.
“We were told the cost of our health insurance was going to go down, not up,” Rainville noted in a prepared statement. Rainville said he recognizes the costs for health care and health care insurance is rising but said, “The most immediate impact of this new mandate is already resulting in higher insurance premiums for businesses and private individuals.”
“As I have reviewed the primary elements of this legislation, I’m outraged the federal government is mandating its citizens to purchase something they may or may not want. This completely violates our sense of freedom in this country,” Rainville stated.
“As Attorney General representing the citizens and taxpayers of Rhode Island, my first obligation and responsibility is to protect them from burdensome and unrealistic rules, regulations and mandates even from the Federal government,” he noted.
“Our goal needs to provide for practical affordable health care insurance solutions to those who want it. I am not convinced the so called ‘Obama Health Care’ mandates are a prudent and practical way to achieve that goal”, he added.


In September, a Florida District Court began hearing oral arguments from 20 state attorneys general and the National Federation of Independent Business challenging the constitutionality of the health care law. The challenge is based on the Commerce Clause in the Constitution, which allows the federal government “to regulate commerce … among the several States.”
“With the implementation of the new law, I am of the opinion the Federal government is overstepping its bounds,” Rainville said. “Regulating health care of residents has always been the role of state, not federal government, and the notion that medical care would be considered interstate commerce, no matter how well intentioned, infringes on our personal freedoms and states’ rights,” he added.
Rainville says he continues to review and follow the Florida case and noted, “As Attorney General, I would seriously consider joining in this lawsuit on behalf of Rhode Island residents. Anything that costs our consumers more money and infringes on their personal freedoms is cause for my concern, both as a citizen and as Attorney General.”
Sharing the feeling of most Rhode Islanders, Rainville stated, “Bigger government programs are seldom an effective answer, particularly when it steps all over our personal freedoms and the rights of individual states to govern. As Attorney General, my job is to look after the Rhode Islanders and to fight for health insurances rates that are practical and affordable,” Rainville stated.

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10 years ago

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