* Virginia to file lawsuit after Obama signs bill into law
* AG: Congress lacks power to force insurance purchases
NEW YORK, March 22 Virginia's attorney general
said he plans to sue the federal government over the healthcare
reform legislation, saying Congress lacks authority to force
people to buy health insurance.
Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, a Republican, said on
Monday that Congress lacks authority under its constitutional
power to regulate interstate commerce to force people to buy
insurance. He said the bill also conflicts with a state law
that says Virginians cannot be required to buy insurance.
"If a person decides not to buy health insurance, that
person by definition is not engaging in commerce," Cuccinelli
said in recorded comments. "If you are not engaging in
commerce, how can the federal government regulate you?"
Cuccinelli said he plans to file his lawsuit in federal
court in Richmond, Virginia, after President Barack Obama signs
the bill into law, which he is expected to do.
The bill requires most Americans to have health coverage,
and provides subsidies to help lower-income workers afford it.
No Republican voted for the bill, which passed the House on
Sunday night by a 219-212 vote.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by John Wallace)