More Governors Seek To Join Multistate Lawsuit Against Reform Law
On Thursday, Republican Govs. Donald Carcieri (R.I.) and Tim Pawlenty (Minn.) filed an amicus brief in support of the multistate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health reform law, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Bakst, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/11).
In the brief, Pawlenty and Carcieri -- who are both serving their last months in office -- also sought permission to join the lawsuit, according to Politico.
The lawsuit -- which Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) filed in March -- argues that the law's individual mandate is unconstitutional (Marr, Politico, 11/11).
The filing argues that the law places liabilities on states through the scheduled Medicaid expansion in 2014 (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/11).
The filing notes, "Although the [reform law] indicates that the federal government will initially pay for some Medicaid expansions, the states are advised that they will pay for 10% of some unspecified costs in four years, and there is no indication that the states will not pay more in succeeding periods." Therefore, the governors have an "obligation" to protect their states' residents from "federal abuse of the spending power," the filing states.
Pawlenty's intention to join the lawsuit also could be "the opening shot of a bid" to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, according to Politico (Politico, 11/11). Pawlenty previously indicated that he planned to join the lawsuit, but Minnesota's Democratic Attorney General Lori Swanson rejected his request, the AP/Chronicle reports. Instead, Swanson said she intended to file an amicus brief against the lawsuit (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/11).
Antireform Action in Other StatesIn other state news, Mississippi's insurance commissioner expressed confusion and concern with the reform law during a recent meeting with a county business group. Meanwhile, Wisconsin's governor-elect is taking steps to ensure that he will have oversight of the implementation of the reform law in his state when he takes office.
- Mississippi: State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney (R) on Wednesday said the planned changes under the health reform law are "mind boggling" and are partially designed on "pure socialist-communist ideas," the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. In addition, Chaney incorrectly described new tax-reporting requirements in the law, which would affect businesses and not-for-profit groups that purchase $600 or more in goods or services. A state lawmaker who attended the meeting said, "It just makes you feel so insecure," adding, "If our own insurance commissioner doesn't really know, who really knows?" (Lepeska, Memphis Commercial Appeal, 11/11).
- Wisconsin: Gov.-elect Scott Walker (R) has asked outgoing Gov. Jim Doyle (D) to halt work on all significant policy issues, including implementation of the reform law in the state, until he takes office on Jan. 3, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Walker explained that he did not want the current administration "to take action on things that potentially would put us in a more challenging spot when it comes to the next budget." According to the Journal Sentinel, Doyle and his aides have declined to make any commitments to Walker's request, but they intend to work with the incoming governor in an "orderly and responsible manner" (Stein/Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/11).
States' Opposition to Reform Law Could 'Backfire'In related news, new efforts by Republican state officials to repeal or block the implementation of the health reform law could "backfire," Time reports. According to Time, "This hard-line approach may be good for rallying the conservative base, but it may not have the desired effect of slowing implementation of health reform," adding, "In fact, such fierce opposition could itself backfire, inviting more federal control over the implementation of reform in states where leaders buck the law" (Pickert, Time, 11/12). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.