Wednesday, Dec 30th, 2009
TALLAHASSEE — Attorney General Bill McCollum called on other states’ legal officers Tuesday to review a “tax on living” in the pending federal health-care proposals.
In a conference call with reporters, McCollum also said he might mount a court challenge if the final health package includes a Senate provision requiring the federal government to cover future Medicaid costs in Nebraska. That was added last week for Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who provided the 60th vote needed by President Obama and Senate Democrats to get the plan to a vote.
State Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, accused McCollum, a Republican, of pouncing on the controversy to advance his own campaign for governor. Gelber said McCollum didn’t use his discretion as the state’s chief legal officer to enforce a state constitutional requirement for adequate funding of education, but chose to make a “legal review” of health care because that issue stirs the conservative base among Republicans and independent voters.
McCollum said “there are a lot of other problems” with the health package, but his main legal objection focused on a requirement all citizens get insurance or pay into a fund that would help cover their medical costs if they get sick or injured. Proponents of the plan have said the mandate is no different than requiring drivers to have auto insurance, but McCollum said people are not required to have a car or to drive.
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