Lawmaker seeks to blunt Brewer on health care lawsuit

Chris Rizo Mar. 29, 2010, 2:24pm

David Lujan (D)

Jan Brewer (R)

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Legal Newsline)-Arizona House Minority Leader David Lujan is seeking to block the state's Republican governor from suing over the national health care bill signed into law last week.

Lujan, a Democratic candidate for state attorney general, said Monday that he is "appalled" that Gov. Jan Brewer wants to challenge the national health care overhaul that would require Americans to have medical insurance.

Today, Brewer called the Legislature into special session to sue over the health care law, which will require that Americans carry health insurance or face penalties.

Beginning in 2014, individuals who flout the mandate face an annual penalty of $695, while employers could face penalties of $2,000 per worker for not offering affordable health coverage.

Lujan, D-Phoenix, said he will introduce legislation today that would blunt the governor's attempts to use taxpayer funds to file suit.

"The governor is advancing a frivolous lawsuit that amounts to a total waste of taxpayer money," Lujan said. "Our leaders are supposed to stand up for Arizonans against special interests. It's unfortunate that Governor Brewer is seeking to block tax cuts for small businesses, while siding with insurance companies that would refuse to cover children with preexisting illnesses."

Lujan is seeking to follow fellow Democrat Terry Goddard as the Grand Canyon State's chief legal officer.

For his part, Goddard has declined to join the efforts of more than a dozen Republican attorneys general in challenging the plan. He said in a statement last week that the two lawsuits in play have "little chance" of prevailing.

"My office has carefully examined both the federal health care legislation and the lawsuits challenging it," Goddard said. "Our lawyers agree with the overwhelming majority of constitutional scholars of both parties that the lawsuits have little merit and that participating in them would be a waste of scarce taxpayer dollars."

Goddard is challenging Brewer in this year's governor's race.

Current parties to the larger lawsuit are the AGs from Florida, South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota and Washington. Virginia's attorney general filed a separate lawsuit in his state Tuesday. Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is the only Democrat suing over the legislation signed into law last week.

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