AG Strange Issues Consumer Alert Warning of Scams Surrounding Obamacare Implementation
MONTGOMERY—As part of a program to periodically offer consumer awareness notices, Attorney General Luther Strange has issued a consumer alert warning of fraudulent attempts to steal identification information after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Attorney General’s alert provides details of how consumers may protect themselves and how to safely access legitimate information about health care and insurance programs.
“As Attorney General, I am committed to protecting the people of Alabama from scams and fraud,” said Attorney General Strange. “One of our most effective weapons is to stop these crimes before they happen, through consumer education and prevention. My Consumer Protection Section handles complaints and inquiries from the public about numerous issues, and works hard to help them resolve their problems. In doing so, we develop many good tips and information that we want to share so that consumers may be informed and implement good practices for their protection.”
In the consumer alert, Attorney General Strange tells consumers that the only two ways to sign up for healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act is through its website, www.healthcare.gov, or by calling 1-800-318-2596. Consumers should not use any other website or hotline, should not give out any personal information to anyone who contacts them and should not pay anyone to help them.
The only approved insurance providers for Alabama through online federal marketplaces are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and Humana. Other insurance policies that meet minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act may be offered online by private insurance companies. Consumers may verify legitimate insurance carriers by contacting the Alabama Department of Insurance.
This notice also will be posted at the Attorney General’s website, www.ago.alabama.gov.
Suspicious websites or people claiming to be with The Affordable Care Act can be reported to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section by visiting www.ago.alabama.gov or by calling its toll-free hotline at 1-800-392-5658.
AG Strange Files Brief to U.S. Supreme Court, Joined by 16 Other States, Challenging Unconstitutional Presidential Appointments
MONTGOMERY – Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has filed a brief on behalf of Alabama and 16 other States in the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing President Obama violated the Constitution when he tried to make three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board without seeking the approval of the Senate. The case is National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning.
In 2011, President Obama failed to gain Senate confirmation for his nominees to the NLRB, the federal agency that regulates disputes between business and labor groups. President Obama then tried to put these nominees on the agency through language in the Constitution that allows appointments without Senate approval during a Senate “recess.” The States’ brief argues that the Senate was not in recess at the time the President made these appointments. The brief also argues the President had failed to gain Senate approval because Senators were concerned that his previous appointments were undermining state laws promoting growth and individual freedom. In particular, the States discuss a complaint, filed by President Obama’s appointee as NLRB general counsel, against the Boeing Company when it decided to build a plant in South Carolina. South Carolina, like many of the States joining this brief, has a “right to work” law guaranteeing its citizens the right to work for a particular employer without joining a union.
Alabama and the 16 other States joining the brief argue that the question before the Court concerns “the President’s attempt to circumvent the system of checks and balances” in the Constitution. They argue that the NLRB has special capacity to undermine states laws and “in recent years, the agency has upset the federal balance in unprecedented ways,” including the complaint filed against Boeing. The States further argue that the requirement that President obtain approval from the States’ representatives in the Senate is “an important check” on federal overreaching. They conclude that “proper respect” for the Constitution “requires the President to seek the Senate’s consent for the appointments he wishes to make for important federal offices.”
Attorney General Strange made the following comment about the States’ brief: “I am thankful the Attorneys General in so many other States understand how important this case is for the Constitution. The President cannot work an end-run around the Senate for the sake of a labor agenda that is contrary to both federal and state law. In this area and all others, the President must cooperate with the Senate, and he must follow the law.”
Alabama’s Immigration Law Permanently Blocked in Justice Department Lawsuit
BIRMINGHAM—The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama entered its final judgment today in United States v. Alabama, resolving the Justice Department’s constitutional challenge to Alabama’s immigration law, H.B. 56, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery of the Department’s Civil Division announced.
The judgment permanently prohibits Alabama from enforcing seven provisions of H.B. 56 that were designed to affect virtually every aspect of an unauthorized immigrant’s daily life, from employment to housing to transportation to entering into and enforcing contracts. The challenged provisions also threatened to impose significant burdens on federal and state agencies, diverting their resources away from dangerous criminal aliens and other high-priority criminal activity.
“The federal government has been making the nation safer by aggressively prosecuting and deporting criminal aliens in record numbers, and it has done so with the cooperation of our sheriffs and police departments,” Vance said. “But H.B. 56 diverted the attention of our state and local partners from violent criminals to ordinary families. The law forced parents to uproot their sons and daughters from their home, and it punished immigrant children for exercising their constitutional right to go to school. Today’s decision marks a return to common-sense immigration law enforcement.”
“Our system demands that our nation speak with one voice on matters of foreign affairs and immigration policy,” Delery added. “In striking down these provisions of H.B. 56, the district court and the Eleventh Circuit have reaffirmed that federal law precludes a patchwork of immigration laws of the type that interferes with federal enforcement, foreign policy, and the rights of lawfully present aliens.”
The judgment follows the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit declaring the enjoined provisions unconstitutional because they impermissibly conflicted with federal immigration law and undermined federal immigration-enforcement efforts. An additional provision of the Alabama immigration law, requiring immigration-status verification of school children, was permanently enjoined in a parallel lawsuit by private plaintiffs, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Ala. et al. v. Governor of Ala. Today’s judgment also dismisses challenges to three other provisions of the Alabama immigration law, although the Justice Department would be able to file a new challenge if the implementation of those provisions raised legal problems.