Republican AGs Probe Health Care Deal

By: - December 23, 2009 12:00 am

The Republican attorneys general of Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas and Washington State are threatening to challenge as unconstitutional a provision written into the U.S. Senate’s national health care bill that cuts a special deal for Nebraska.

The prosecutors’ effort is led by South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster, who was asked by South Carolina’s U.S. senators – both Republicans – to investigate,The State newspaper reported . McMaster is seeking the GOP nomination for governor in South Carolina.

At the center of the investigation is whether the federal government can pick up the full cost of expanding Medicaid – the state-federal health insurance program for the poor – in Nebraska, but not in other states. U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson (D) of Nebraska secured the deal for the Cornhusker State is exchange for his crucial vote in favor of health-care legislation. The arrangement since has come under withering criticism from Republicans across the country, including Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R).

“States generally are treated in a similar manner,” McMaster said, according to The State. “In this case, Nebraska will be treated in a widely divergent manner than any other state.”

“The Nebraska compromise, which permanently exempts Nebraska from paying Medicaid costs that Texas and all other 49 states must pay, may violate the United States Constitution — as well as other provisions of federal law,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) said, according to The Dallas Morning News .

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