Maine Republicans ask AG to join health care lawsuit

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AUGUSTA – Republican state lawmakers want Maine Attorney General Janet Mills to join a multistate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health care law.

State Rep. Andre Cushing, R-Hampden, who is leading the effort, said he thinks the mandate included in the law, which would require people to buy health insurance beginning in 2014, is unconstitutional.

“Congress has no authority to order you to buy a product or service you don’t want,” he said in a statement Wednesday. All Maine House Republicans had signed on in support of the joint resolution filed by Cushing, with the exception of the two members of leadership who had not been asked, according to the release.

For the measure to be considered by the full Legislature, it would need approval of the 10-member Legislative Council. The council, composed of House and Senate leaders from both parties, has six Democrats and four Republicans.

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Kate Simmons, a spokeswoman for Mills, who is a Democrat, told the Bangor Daily News on Tuesday that Maine would not join the lawsuit being pursued by 13 other states because Mills does not believe there is a constitutional basis for it.

Simmons told the Bangor Daily News that Mills looked at the complaints of the other states and decided they were “creative but not well-founded.”

Of the attorneys general pursuing the lawsuit, all but one are Republicans. The Democrat, James Caldwell of Louisiana, joined the suit because he was asked to by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, he told The Associated Press. Of the Republicans, three are running for governor, one for U.S. Senate and at least four are running for re-election.

The Legislative Council is scheduled to meet Thursday.

rmetzler@sunjournal.com

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