As Republicans force the reconciliation bill to go back to the House, the future of health care may be uncertain. But one thing is sure. Russ Decker is not going to take shit from J.B. Van Hollen.
The Senate majority leadermade clear his feelings about Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's request to sue the federal government over the health care bill.
"I will not authorize the Attorney General to spend scarce state resources to go to bat for insurance companies to continue denying people health care for pre-existing conditions and kick people off of their health care plan when they get sick or make the Medicare donut hole for seniors permanent," said Decker.
Decker did not respond with any constitutional arguments, much in the same way that Van Hollen's office did not hesitate to express non-legal opinions on the health care legislation. The difference, of course, is that Decker is supposed to be concerned with health policy, and Van Hollen is not, unless there are specific legal reasons for him to be involved.
Although Van Hollen's official request had the guise of constitutional arguments, only one of them struck me as potentially valid: the individual mandate. Requiring individuals to purchase a private product is indeed unprecedented (OK, I think it is). The additional language about what "the founders intended" is just a bunch of political bullshit. If Van Hollen really feels that national health care program usurps the powers of the state, he should have filed suit against Medicare the moment he entered office.