Rather than strike out on its own, Arizona will join a lawsuit filed by 15 other states against the federal government over the landmark health care bill passed by Congress.
Gov. Jan Brewer had said Arizona may file an individual suit over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but on April 6 the governor announced that Arizona would join the preexisting lawsuit filed in March after the bill was passed.
Joseph Kanefield, Brewer’s general counsel, will represent the state in the suit. The state estimates the cost to be no more than $5,000 to join the suit.
“By passing this onerous federal mandate, Congress has exceeded its authority and left the State of Arizona no option but to challenge its unconstitutional act in court,” Brewer wrote in a press statement. “We must join this suit to assure the State of Arizona has a voice in the legal proceedings and to assure that Arizona citizens enjoy the benefits and protections of the lower court rulings in favor of the states.”
Brewer has expressed concern over a provision in the health care bill that requires states to maintain their Medicaid programs at their current levels. That law prohibits Arizona from moving forward with plans to cut about 310,000 people from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, leaving a $385 million hole in Arizona’s 2011 budget.
The state must also now restore KidsCare, which provides health care for about 38,000 children, at a cost of about $20 million.