Zoeller joins ranks of state AGs probing Senate health care bill

Chris Rizo Jan. 6, 2010, 2:21pm

Greg Zoeller (R)

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline)- Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Wednesday will conduct a legal analysis of the federal health care overhaul recently passed by the U.S. Senate, joining the more than a dozen other Republican AGs who are also probing the Democratic-authored plan.

Republican state attorneys general around the country are specifically looking at a controversial deal that got Democrats the 60th and final vote they needed to pass a comprehensive health care overhaul bill.

In exchange for his crucial vote, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., was able to spare his state higher Medicaid costs in the legislation drafted by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

In a statement, Zoeller said he was asked by fellow Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., to provide his legal analysis of the legislation. Under Indiana law, the state attorney general's office has the authority to review existing or proposed federal legislation for any of Indiana's members of Congress.

Zoeller said his office will review the health care bill's constitutionality and its impact upon Indiana state agencies if the Senate version of the bill were to be enacted as written.

The Senate legislation requires that the states provide Medicaid coverage to anyone making up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level -- a move that will likely expand the number of Medicaid-eligible persons throughout the country and increase the financial burden on the states since they bankroll part of the program.

Zoeller is a former U.S. Senate staffer. He was an aide to former Sen. Dan Quayle, R-Ind.

"Having worked on the staff of former Senator Quayle in the 1980s, I recognize that compromises sometimes are made during the legislative process to ensure passage, and that complex bills are often rewritten during the final reconciliation process," Zoeller said.

Among attorneys general critical of the so-called Nebraska Compromise are the chief legal officers from Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

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

More News