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Florida says 5 more states challenge health overhaul


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters)—Five more U.S. states will join a Florida-led group of states in a collective lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's overhaul of the U.S. health care system, Florida's attorney general said Wednesday.

The joint lawsuit, led by Florida and now grouping 18 states, was filed March 23. It claims the sweeping reform of the $2.5 trillion health care system violates state-government rights in the U.S. Constitution and will force massive new spending on hard-pressed state governments.

Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington previously had joined Florida's lawsuit.

"We welcome the partnership of Indiana, North Dakota, Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona as we continue fighting to protect the constitutional rights of American citizens and the sovereignty of our states," Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said.

The lawsuit says the health care overhaul law—which expands government health plans for the poor, imposes new taxes on the wealthy and requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions—violates the Constitution's commerce clause by requiring nearly all Americans to buy health insurance.

"On behalf of the residents in Florida and the states joining our efforts, we are committed to aggressively pursuing this lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary to prevent this unprecedented expansion of federal powers, impact upon state sovereignty and encroachment on our freedom," Mr. McCollum said in a statement released by his office.