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Koster joins challenge to health care law

After a year of criticism from Republicans, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has gotten involved in the fight against the federal health care law.

In a letter today, Koster informed leaders in the Missouri House and Senate that he had filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit pending in Florida that challenges the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law requires individuals to purchase health insurance.

Koster said “it is the opinion of this office that the Congress reached beyond current Commerce Clause precedent” when it passed the individual mandate, although he added his argument “is emphatically not based on any opposition to the expansion of health coverage for uninsured Americans. To the contrary, I favor the expansion of health coverage.”

Koster’s move comes after voters last year overwhelmingly passed a state law that attempts to reject the individual mandate. The House and Senate also have passed resolutions this year urging Koster’s office to challenge the health care act.

The case, State of Florida et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services et al., is on appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A U.S. district judge ruled earlier this year that the law was unconstitutional.