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Legislature poised to OK health care lawsuit

Lawmakers March 29 convened a special session designed to give Gov. Jan Brewer clear authority to sue the federal government over the recently enacted health care reform legislation on the grounds that it violates Arizona’s sovereignty.

Lawmakers will consider a pair of Republican-crafted measures: One would give Brewer statutory authority to represent the state in a lawsuit, while the other would ask Congress to pay for mandated health care spending.

Identical bills were filed in the House and Senate. Both chambers have scheduled committee hearings for March 30 and are expected to vote on them the following day. With all Republicans anticipated to vote for the measures, there is little doubt they will be approved.

Democrats said the exercise amounted to little more than a dog-and-pony show meant to benefit Brewer, who is seeking an election to a complete term in office later this year.

“I think, you know, from one perspective the governor has to take this position because of her campaign,” Senate Minority Leader Jorge Luis Garcia said. “She needs to play to her base (and say) that she is not going to be bullied by the feds into spending more money than what the state has.”

Brewer is proceeding with the lawsuit, in part, because Attorney General Terry Goddard – the presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee this year – declined last week to join 13 other states in pursuing a challenge of the federal health care reform.

Goddard said Arizona would have little hope of winning and the suit would end up being a waste of money.

House Minority Leader David Lujan concurred, saying the case “is frivolous and is based neither on fact or the law.” Lujan, an attorney, is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general.

-Capitol Times writer Luige del Puerto contributed to this report


  1. The new health care bill is not perfect – far from it – but as the old Chinese saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” There will be improvements made on it down the years – there absolutely needs to be – but this is a fairly good first step. We’re on our way! The Conservatives will whine, but that’s what they do best. They’ll whine just as they whined when Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Just as they whined when Harry Truman desegregated the army in 1947, or when Franklin D. Roosevelt brought Social Security into being in 1935. They’ll whine just like they did when Woodrow Wilson tried to form the League of Nations in 1919 – or when Abraham Lincoln ended the institution of slavery in 1863! They whine a lot. Did you ever notice that?


    Tom Degan
    Goshen NY

  2. Bravo for Brewer. Let’s get this lawsuit moving and representing the citizens of Arizona. Democrats in Congress have robbed citizens of their vote by ignoring the will of the people and strangling us with this invasive legislation. We need the support of State Governments to keep us from being turned into the serfs of Big Government in Washington.

  3. Arizona Healthcare Conundrum, But There Is a Better Way

    The federal health care reform bill does what a lot of federal laws do – it gives the states a mandate with no help in funding that mandate (at least not immediately, in the case of the health care reform bill). So now Arizona’s legislature is largely back where they started, with an absolutely enormous budget deficit and not a lot more available spending-cut options.

    But there’s another way to work toward a resolution for the huge budget deficit that the legislature should consider. Arizona’s lawmakers should focus on putting out the fire that is consuming our state’s economy and threatening to make Arizona an unattractive place for businesses to locate and smart, hard-working people to live. They should do that with a smart mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.

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