While the Supreme Court considers the fate of President Obama’s Healthcare Reform Act, here’s an informative article regarding the attorney representing Nevada in the lawsuit 26 states have mounted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
This story, written by Dallas journalist Glenda Vosburgh, explains why GOP’s believe justices will eventually rule in their favor. Mark Hutchison, a successful Las Vegas attorney, explains why he and others opposed to the government’s healthcare plan believe the mandate for all individuals to have health insurance is unconstitutional.
Hutchison is currently running for State Senate in the Silver State’s 6th district.
Is the Obama Health Care Bill Legal? A Discussion About Health Insurance
LAS VEGAS, March 16, 2012 – Challenging the constitutionality of the Health Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama, is a classic example of states’ rights versus federal rights, according to attorney Mark Hutchison.
He’s been in the thick of the battle since May 2010 when former Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons appointed him lead special counsel on an all-volunteer legal team to represent the state in its lawsuit to block the law.
Hutchison, who co-founded Hutchison & Steffen law firm in Las Vegas with John T. Steffen in 1996, will be in Washington, D.C., along with representatives from 25 other states that are challenging the law, as the case is argued before the Supreme Court beginning on March 26.
The lawsuits against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contend that it violates the U.S. Constitution by requiring citizens to buy health insurance or pay fines to the Internal Revenue Service. Those opposed to the law say it is unconstitutional for the government to require its citizens to purchase anything.
“Our governor and our former governor both see this law as an attack on the citizens of Nevada,” Hutchison said.
Five and half hours have been set aside for oral arguments before the Supreme Court, which is unusual, Hutchison said, pointing to the Bush/Gore Presidential election case that was allowed only one and a half hours.
“If you’re a lawyer and you love big stakes litigation, it doesn’t get any better than this,” Hutchison said. “I think this is the Constitutional question of our generation.”
Former U.S. Solicitor General and Deputy Solicitor Paul Clements will argue on behalf of the states. According to published reports, Clements has appeared before the Supreme Court 49 times in his career. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli will represent the Obama Administration.
There has been speculation among those involved in the case, on both sides of the issue, that Justice Anthony Kennedy will be the deciding vote, although there’s a difference of opinion on how he will vote. “I think we will get Justice Kennedy,” Hutchison said. “I think we’ll win by a vote of 5 to 4.”
In ruling on the case, he said, the justices will first have to determine if the law is constitutional. If so, is all of it unconstitutional or just parts of it?
If only the mandate forcing all citizens to have health insurance goes away, that would create “kind of a nightmare scenario for health insurance companies,” Hutchison said, since it would have served to offset their costs when, in 2014, they are no longer permitted to deny health insurance coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions.
If that happens, Hutchison said he expects health insurance companies will lobby Congress for some kind of relief. “This ruling would have major consequences,” he said.
Hutchison, who graduated with a business administration degree, Phi Kappa Phi, from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas-UNLV, received his law degree from Brigham Young University. After graduating in 1990, he clerked for the Honorable Kenneth F. Ripple of the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. He then practiced for the national law firm of Kirkland & Ellis in both Chicago and Los Angeles before returning to his native Nevada to establish his own firm.
He practices primarily in the areas of business and commercial litigation, tort litigation, medical malpractice, employment law, trust and probate litigation and appellate litigation.
He is a past chairman of the Ethics Commission for the State of Nevada and he has served on numerous boards and commissions, including as President of the Federal Bar Association and as a member of the Nevada Supreme Court Bench-Bar Committee.
Hutchison also serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the Boy Scouts of America and Las Vegas Area Council. He is General Counsel for the Desert Youth Football league and General Counsel for the Silent Heroes of the Cold-War Memorial Committee. He also finds time to coach youth football. Hutchison and his wife, Cary, are the parents of six children.