Gibbons wants Masto's answer about lawsuit by next week

CARSON CITY -- Gov. Jim Gibbons stepped up the war of words Thursday in his effort to force Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to file a lawsuit against the federal government over the $1 trillion federal health care law.

In his second letter to Masto in two days, Gibbons said he wants her to decide by 5 p.m. Monday whether she will join 14 other state attorneys general who have sued to block the law signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama from being carried out.

"The health care legislation presents a question of federal powers versus states' power -- this is a second-year law school analysis," said Gibbons in the latest letter. "I understand your concern about spending public funds for frivolous lawsuits. However, a lawsuit initiated by 14 other attorneys general is hardly frivolous."

Just what Republican Gibbons will do if Democrat Masto won't sue isn't mentioned in his latest letter.

"We are working on contingency plans right now," said Daniel Burns, Gibbons' communications director, who would not give additional details.

Edie Cartwright, Masto's spokeswoman, said the attorney general will reply today to Gibbons' latest volley.

Gibbons opposes the health care law because it would cost the state about $613 million more to provide health care to poor people through Medicaid during the 2014-19 period. The law also would force some people to buy health insurance