GOP wants Blumenthal ready to challenge health care bill

John O'Brien Jan. 12, 2010, 1:16pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Republican lawmakers in Connecticut want state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to be ready to fight against the proposed national health care reform package if it is passed.

Just like in other states, GOP members are railing against an apparent deal that benefitted Nebraska in exchange for one of its senators' vote. However, in Connecticut, the attorney general may be a U.S. Senator this time next year.

Blumenthal, a Democrat who has served as attorney general since 1991, is seeking the seat that will be vacated by U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd.

A provision in the Senate-approved health care plan exempts Nebraska from having to pay Medicaid expense increases. The language was inserted into the bill to gain the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, who offered the 60th and final vote late last month needed to pass the plan aimed at expanding access to health care.

A group of 13 Republican attorneys general led by South Carolina's Henry McMaster has been vocal in its intent to challenge the provision.

Also, Sen. Mary Landrieu received $300 million in federal funds for Louisiana.

Seven GOP state senators sent Blumenthal a letter Thursday.

"A group of attorneys general across the nation are discussing the possibility of filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the national health care bill," the letter says.

"We urge you, as has Gov. (Jodi) Rell, to join your colleagues in demanding this proposed legislation pass constitutional muster and equalize the burden of funding new federal government programs should it become law."

The state senators who signed the letter are Michael McLachlan, John Kissel, Toni Boucher, Dan Debicella, Tony Guglielmo, L. Scott Frantz and Rob Kane.

"Connecticut citizens deserve to know that their elected state officials are not just helplessly standing by while decisions are being made on a federal level that could seriously hurt them," Boucher said in a statement.

"We have rights, and we have to be prepared to fight to protect them. That is what we are urging the Attorney General to be ready to do."

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