CLARKSBURG -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney says he would join 26 other states in their challenge to President Barack Obama's health care reform.
"More than half the states want to scrap Obamacare," Maloney said Wednesday after a meeting in Clarksburg. "After I'm elected governor, you'll be able to add West Virginia to that list. We need to repeal and replace Obamacare because it's unconstitutional, unproductive and unaffordable."
Maloney made the comments after one in a series of policy discussions Maloney is hosting across West Virginia. Participants in the Clarksburg discussion included doctors, attorneys, small business owners and others.
"The only good thing about Obamacare was how the people rose up against it," Maloney said. "Their protests brought the nation's health care problems to the forefront of the political debate.
"As governor, I'd work to address our state's own health care problems in a manner that respects the individual rights of citizens and makes government run more efficiently. That's what leadership is all about."
Maloney's opponent in the Oct. 4 election, acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, says the health care bill does need work.
"Earl Ray Tomblin agrees parts of the health care bill need to be changed, and he hopes to see that happen at the federal level," Tombling campaign spokesman Chris Stadelman said Wednesday. "At the same time, it would be irresponsible not to prepare for the potential unfunded mandates the law creates, so he is making sure West Virginia is prepared for those potential impacts."
Earlier this month, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that a provision of the law that requires individuals to purchase health insurance or face an annual penalty is unconstitutional. The ruling affirmed an earlier decision by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of northern Florida.
"ObamaCare is closer to an end," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said then. "As we have maintained since before the law was first enacted, the individual mandate exceeds the constitutional limits on Congress' authority.
"The federal government cannot rely upon Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce in a misguided effort to require that every American purchase government-approved health insurance - whether they want it or not. No public policy goal, no matter how important or well-intentioned, can be allowed to trample the protections and rights guaranteed by our Constitution."
Twenty-six states challenged the Obama's law, which was signed in March 2010 and has been the subject of many legal challenges since. Florida, first under former Attorney General Bill McCollum and now through current AG Pam Bondi, has led the multistate challenge.
The Third Circuit ruled earlier in August that a group of New Jersey physicians did not have standing to challenge the law. The Sixth Circuit ruled 2-1 in June for Obama, while the Fourth Circuit has not issued its ruling in Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's challenge.
All will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In January, Vinson found that Congress was unconstitutionally regulating economic inactivity and, because the mandate is too integral a part to be separated, he voided the entire legislation. He called it "a difficult decision to reach."