KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Arizona And Nevada Governors Reject AGs’ Advice, Join Suit Against New Health Law

The Associated Press/Boston Globe: "The governors of Arizona and Nevada say their states will join 14 others suing the federal government over health care reform. Gov. Jan Brewer announced Arizona was joining the suit Tuesday night. She signed a bill April 1 that gave her the authority to skirt the state's Democratic attorney general, Terry Goddard, who declined to sue on the state's behalf. Republicans say the bill signed by President Obama is unconstitutional in part because it requires people to buy private health insurance. Goddard and other Democrats say a suit would be unlikely to succeed and thus a waste of taxpayer money. Also Tuesday, Gov. Jim Gibbons signed an executive order for Nevada to join the multistate challenge to the federal legislation. Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, refused an earlier directive from Gibbons to join the suit" (4/7).

Raleigh News & Observer: "Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue on Tuesday sidetracked a Republican effort to get North Carolina to join 15 other states that have filed a lawsuit challenging the new federal health care law. Republicans had hoped to get the Council of State - a body of the state's 10 top executive branch elected officials - to appropriate money to pay for legal fees for such a suit. But Perdue said it was inappropriate for the council to take up the health care issue because the state's chief lawyer, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, was in Charlotte attending a law enforcement meeting that she said had been scheduled for months" (Niolet, 4/6).

The Hill: "Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is joining a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new health law over the recommendation of the state's top law enforcement official. Pawlenty is a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate and the lawsuit is one of the most highly-visible ways in which Republicans are trying to dismantle the measure. The governor asked Attorney General Lori Swanson (D) last month to examine the legality of the bill, and she ultimately found that the lawsuit is 'not warranted'" (Fabian, 4/6).

CNN: "Pawlenty ... did not say whether he will pursue his own lawsuit or join legal challenges from 14 attorneys general filed last month" (Harris, 4/6).

KTNV Las Vegas: "Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, is making good on his promise to fight the federal health care reform bill. Tuesday, he announced his latest offensive, which includes a team of attorneys who're working pro-bono. ... They plan to sue the federal government over the bill, because Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto wouldn't. 'The bill has some sections in it, however, that do have merit, and appear at first blush to be worth keeping. Overall, the bill is unconstitutional,' says Gibbons. Gibbons argues that a nationalization of the healthcare industry tramples states' rights, and forces taxpayers to foot millions of dollars in unfunded Medicaid mandates, as well as buy private health insurance" (4/6).

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