KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Arizona Approves Bill To Join Health Reform Lawsuit, Colorado Democrats Push Back Against Their AG

After Arizona lawmakers give the go-ahead, the governor signed a measure into law Thursday that allows the state to join a lawsuit with other states challenging the constitutionality of the health reform overhaul passed by Congress. 

Yuma Sun: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the legislation passed a day earlier by the Arizona legislature. "Brewer sought the authorization, contending Congress and President Obama overstepped their legal authority by requiring states to continue funding their own health care programs at current levels to qualify for expanded federal aid in 2014. She also contends it is illegal for the federal government to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance for themselves or face a fine." The law passed with only Republican votes after Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, who is a Democrat, said he would not join the lawsuit. "Legislative Democrats, in opposing the measure, sided with Goddard in concluding the litigation would be fruitless. They also chided Republicans for authorizing Brewer to spend money hiring outside lawyers when the state is struggling to balance its books" (Fischer, 4/1).

BusinessWeek: "Republican governors in Georgia and Nevada also have said they're looking to hire outside lawyers to go around Democratic attorneys general, but neither has officially signed on. … Arizona Republicans argue that a successful lawsuit would save the state far more money than it would cost, and the state has a duty to block legislation they believe gives the federal government too much power and burdens the state Medicaid program" (Cooper, 4/1).

Meanwhile, in Colorado, liberals Thursday delivered a petition with 8,400 signatures protesting that state's involvement in the lawsuit, the Denver Daily News reports. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers decided to join the suit. "Meanwhile, House Democrats called upon Suthers yesterday to drop participation in the lawsuit, arguing that the move is 'misguided' and 'politically motivated.' They point out that taxpayers will fund the estimated $5,000 cost to join the lawsuit" (Marcus, 4/2).

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