Hood: No need to join health care challenge yet

John O'Brien Apr. 12, 2010, 4:50pm


JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood recently told Gov. Haley Barbour that he has no current plans to join the challenge to federal health care reform, but Barbour's position will be well-represented by those AGs who are.

Hood wrote Barbour Friday in response to the governor's request to examine joining a lawsuit filed in Florida federal court. Hood said will further examine the possibility of joining when the first amended complaint is filed in the lawsuit, which is being pursued by 17 states.

Hood said the complaint, filed March 23, looks like it was done so in haste.

"Lawsuits are being filed almost daily challenging this legislation," Hood said. "Legions of lawyers will litigate all of the possible claims for years. Millions of dollars will be spent on these law firms.

"Your voice and position will be well-represented by other state politicians and individuals. Since the case will likely be finally decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, there is no hurry to join the suit.

Hood added that it would be much cheaper to join the suit when it makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The AGs who are challenging the legislation say it unfairly contains a mandate for individuals to have health insurance coverage or face an annual penalty of $695.

Businesses with more than 50 workers would have to provide coverage or pay a $2,000-a-worker penalty if any of their employees get government-subsidized plans on their own.

"Nevertheless, if you feel compelled to take action... then you are authorized to take action on behalf of the Office of Governor in your own name," Hood wrote to Barbour.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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