Bullock in the Middle on Health Care Law

By Beacon Staff

Challenges to the Constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law are obviously a political fight not going away any time soon, with the new Republican majority in Congress voting this week to repeal it. At the state level, Republican legislators are taking what steps they can to fight implementation of the law as well. Among the proposals to halt “Obamacare” is a bill directing Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock, a Democrat, to join other states in suing the federal government over the issue. There are some questions as to whether the Montana Constitution permits the Legislature to order the attorney general to take such legal action.

What I find interesting this morning is a brief post on Ben Smith’s Politico blog reporting that several Democratic AGs are joining the fight on the side of the White House, in one of the many cases devoted to the Constitutionality of the health care law. From Ben Smith:

Now, Democratic attorneys general are inserting themselves into the legal battle — on the side of the federal government and the health care overhaul. The AGs of California, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa, and Oregon are filing a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the defense in the appeal of the Michigan case Thomas More Law Center v. Barack Hussein Obama, one of a handful moving through the court. The case, like others, challenges the individual mandate.

Should it grow common for Democratic attorneys general to file briefs supporting the health care law – especially if/when the case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court – it could put Bullock in an awkward position. It’s the kind of difficulty State Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen, also a Democrat, is encountering as she encourages the Republican-controlled Legislature to embrace state review of health insurance rate increases, (which is part of the new law) and encounters resistance.

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