Bruning: Lawsuit over Senate health care bill futile

Chris Rizo Jan. 7, 2010, 2:13pm

Jon Bruning (R-Neb.)

OMAHA, Neb. (Legal Newsline)-Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is not planning to join other Republican attorneys general in their possible legal fight against the health care overhaul bill pending in Congress.

A group of 13 Republican attorneys general have threatened legal action over a provision in the bill that exempts Nebraska from having to pay Medicaid expense increases.

The language was inserted into the Senate bill to gain the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who offered the 60th and final vote late last month needed to pass the plan aimed at expanding access to health care and changing the way U.S. health insurance companies do business.

The Omaha (Neb.) World Herald reported Thursday that Bruning said a lawsuit challenging the so-called "Cornhusker Kickback" has little chance of succeeding.

"I'm not confident there is a compelling legal argument here. The cases I've read make it pretty clear Congress is able to do almost any darn fool thing they want to do," he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Among state attorneys general threatening legal action over the so-called Cornhusker Kickback are the chief legal officers from Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Bruning is the president of the National Association of Attorneys General and is widely considered a possible Republican challenger to Nelson in 2012.

The federal health care bill is now in conference committee, where the Senate and House bills are being reconciled before being sent to President Barack Obama, who has made health care reform the cornerstone of his domestic policy agenda.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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