Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell Announces Alaska's Intent To Join Suit Against Obamacare Health Care Bill; Primary Objection Is The Mandate


The Anchorage Daily News and KTUU Channel 2 report that after a period of careful evaluation and deliberation, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell announced on April 20th, 2010 that Alaska will become the 20th state to sue to overturn the "Obamacare" health care overhaul bill (HR 3590) signed into law by President Barack Obama. The complete list of states now includes Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington; KTUU reports that Virginia has filed a separate suit. The American Legislative Exchange Council indicates that many more states may follow suit.

Read the Department of Law's 49-page memorandum HERE or the three-page executive summary HERE.

Calling it an "unprecedented exercise of congressional power," Parnell said Alaska would join the other states in challenging as unconstitutional the mandate that people buy health care insurance. "For the first time we now have a federal government dictating our economic activity," Parnell said. "Alaska will use the courts to fight this federal encroachment on our citizens." Attorney General Daniel Sullivan said it would cost the state about $5,000 to join the lawsuit. More clarification is offered in an April 22nd KTVA story; while the $5,000 is firm, it applies only to the cost of outside legal support, and does not factor in the value of Alaska Department of Law staff time preparing the paperwork.

In the midst of a re-election campaign, Governor Parnell has been pressed by Republican challengers Ralph Samuels, Bill Walker, and Gerald Heikes to take this action. But recent polls show that Parnell is far ahead of his challengers at this point, so it is unlikely that Parnell was significantly influenced by his challengers. A majority of Alaskans are likely to support Parnell's action; on March 22nd, a KTUU Channel 2 unscientific poll of 943 respondents showed that 61.5 percent wanted the state to challenge the constitutionality of Obamacare. The number of respondents was much higher than on most KTUU polls, indicating strong public interest.

Although Senator Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young support Alaska joining the suit (Murkowski posted her response HERE), Senator Mark Begich is critical of the decision. "At a time when Alaska's unemployment rate is at record highs and families are struggling to make ends meet, the administration of Governor Sean Parnell has decided to spend countless hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars on a lawsuit of dubious merit which is unlikely to be successful," Begich said. "That level of state dollars and resources could be better spent keeping our economy healthy, creating jobs for Alaskans and protecting public safety." The White House has said the suit will fail, and that the Justice Department would vigorously fight any challenges.



Of course, Senator Begich is highly selective about what he calls "overspending". For example the AidToIsrael website projects that between 2009-2018, the United States is scheduled to give Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. aid, $30 billion in military aid. Alaska's share is calculated to be $51,950,748.88. That's considerably more than $5,000, but I don't recall Senator Begich questioning that proposed expenditure, nor continued expenditures on our military adventures abroad. Begich has also not questioned the proposed hiring of 16,000 IRS agents provided for by Obamacare to ensure compliance. So he's just engaged in partisan politics.

This lawsuit could have easily been avoided if Congressional Democrats had removed the mandate from the bill. Instead, they merely deferred the mandate for several years. That's not good enough - we warned them that the mandate was the dealbreaker. And now, the states are merely backing up their warning. If we have to bog this thing down in court for years to sabotage implementation of this bill, we'll do so. Chris Matthews isn't the only one who knows how to play "Hardball".

Get rid of the mandate, and we're willing to discuss the rest of the bill.

3 comments:

  1. You wrote:
    "Begich has also not questioned the proposed hiring of 16,000 IRS agents provided for by Obamacare to ensure compliance."

    Fortunately, the hiring of so many IRS agents is a false rumor.

    Please see these sources:

    http://www.factcheck.org/2010/03/irs-expansion/

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/04/will_the_irs_need_16000_new_ag.html

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  2. Granted, the healthcare bill was "unconstitutionally" and forcibly plunged by Obama and his cronies down American throats, and was a true debacle. However, stop Obama from the next big disaster: amnesty for over 20 million illegals. I think Gov. Parnell would be better served at this point by trying to revitalize his position as governor for re-election if he supported governor Jan Brewer's bill in Arizona. You think the healthcare bill is bad, wait until Obama decides to dish out amnesty to millions of illegals. If he does, it will be one of the biggest catastrophe the country has seen in decades, and one that will almost be impossible to recover from ever again. So my advice to Gov. Parnell, would be to stand in firm solidarity with Arizona law SB1070 against illegal immigration. In fact, he probably should pass a similar law in Alaska. For if illegals get amnesty, the first place they will flood is Alaska, to rape the system,live off welfare, and obtain the PFD. This is exactly what they do in California presently. One of the big reasons why California is so financially screwed up.

    Cheers!

    Poornima

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  3. Mr. Governor.
    You have health insurance for you and your family and probably all your staff and associates and contributors do also so this wasn't really a difficult decision was it?

    Interesting that you are concerned about this cost bearing on the state treasury. Isn't that concern just a bit hypocritical considering that the last two state budgets you approved were the two largest in state history at 7.9 billion dollars and 6.8 billion dollars respectively? Might I remind you that a billion dollars is one thousand million dollars. I also know that you can control spending because the Alaska Constitution in Article 2 Section 15 grants you absolute authority to "...strike or reduce items in appropriation bills." Since you are granted line item veto authority you must seem to think items such as 7 million dollar tennis courts in Anchorage and funds to purchase airplane tickets to see baskeball games are much more worthy than an expenditure for health care for Alaskans.

    I appreciate your concern for the plight of other states such as Oregon, Colorado, Georgia and New Hampshire ; however I don't live in those states so, as you don't care about providing an alternate plan to Alaskans, I don't care what they are doing in the lower 48 or how they are doing it.

    Was it the loss of future oil revenue that motivated this decision? So how about quoting the exact amount of money you think you saved Alaska even if the Feds were picking up the tab in first years anyway? Sounds like you worry about losing future federal funds just as much as you worry about spending them on health care; however tennis courts and airplane tickets to basket ball games - thats a different story isn't it. And again, what is your alternate plan for uninsured Alaskans?

    - Jake @ 4-insure.com

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