The White House says it isn't worried that 13 state attorneys general are suing to overturn the massive health care overhaul, and many legal experts agree the effort is futile.
But the lawsuit, filed in federal court seven minutes after President Barack Obama signed the 10-year, $938 billion health care bill, underscores the divisiveness of the issue and the political rancor that has surrounded it.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum led the effort to file the suit that claims Congress doesn't have the constitutional right to force people to get health coverage. It also says the federal government is violating the Constitution by forcing a mandate on the states without providing resources to pay for it.
"To that I say, 'Bring it on,'" said White House domestic policy chief Melody Barnes, who cited similar suits filed over Social Security and the Voting Rights Act when those were passed. "If you want to look in the face of a parent whose child now has health care insurance and say we're repealing that ... go right ahead."
A 14th state, Virginia, did not join the bigger lawsuit, but filed its own, which other states are also considering.