Goddard rejects call to probe Senate health care deal

Chris Rizo Jan. 4, 2010, 12:59pm

Terry Goddard (D)

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Legal Newsline)-Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has requested that the state's attorney general join his counterparts in at least 13 other states -- all Republicans -- in reviewing the legality of the proposed federal health care overhaul.

The U.S. Senate last month passed its version of the health care reform bill, which includes a provision that would exempt Nebraska from paying for any newly eligible Medicaid recipients.

The provision was inserted into the bill to gain the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., the 60th vote needed to pass the bill. Nelson was the only Democrat who was holding out on supporting the legislation.

"No other state in the country would receive this extraordinary financial privilege," Brewer wrote. "The cost of this special treatment for Nebraska would be shifted to the federal government and ultimately borne by the taxpayers of the other 49 states, including the citizens of Arizona."

Goddard, who is widely expected to run for governor this year against Brewer, responded to the governor's request, saying her request is premature.

"There are undoubtedly many hurdles ahead before this ill conceived Nebraska benefit becomes law," Goddard wrote. "The issue is not yet ripe for consideration of a legal challenge."

Before a final bill is sent to President Barack Obama, who has made health care reform the cornerstone of his domestic policy agenda, the House and Senate bills must be reconciled in conference committee.

The Republican AGs' efforts against the so-called Nebraska Compromise are being led by South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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