Health care suits


At this point, why doesn't Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto just come forward and declare her full, enthusiastic support for the crushing new health insurance regulations signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday?

A majority of Nevadans are strongly opposed to this massive expansion of federal power and the fiscal burdens it will impose on them and this state's ravaged economy. But Ms. Masto isn't doing anything about it.

Aside from the future expansion of Medicaid it orders (which will require massive state tax increases or equivalent budget cuts to cover the costs), the new law will make health insurance more expensive and force all Nevadans to purchase it. It is an unprecedented and unwarranted intrusion on individual and economic freedom.

Unlike Ms. Masto, other state law enforcement officers understand this. Just minutes after the president signed the bill into law, 13 attorneys general -- 12 Republicans and one Democrat -- filed a lawsuit contending the legislation is unconstitutional. They had closely followed the vote-buying and political maneuvering in Washington over the past several months, and they had warned federal lawmakers of their intentions.

"The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," the lawsuit says, citing the 10th Amendment restriction on federal authority beyond the specific powers granted under the Constitution.

"This is the first time in American history where American citizens will be forced to buy a particular good or service," said Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who joined the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also says the unfunded mandates are unconstitutional and unaffordable. In Nevada, where state tax revenues are plummeting and legislators already have axed hundreds of millions of dollars in planned spending, the law will add more than 41,000 people to Medicaid in 2014 and balloon enrollment by nearly 60 percent over the following five years, according to Gov. Jim Gibbons, costing the state general fund more than $613 million.

Gov. Gibbons, a Republican, said the state would challenge the constitutionality of the law, and that he was confident Ms. Masto would eventually sign on to the cause. Virginia has filed its own lawsuit and, along with Idaho, has passed legislation blocking the law's requirements.

In her defense, Ms. Masto is repeating the same excuse she has used since last year: she intends to read the legislation and carefully analyze it before making a decision.

Oh, please.

Gov. Gibbons should proceed with the state's legal challenge forthwith -- and not wait for Ms. Masto to declare her obvious support of this beast.

 

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