New calls for Ga. AG to probe federal health bill

ATLANTA – Republican state senators are calling on Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker to question whether federal health care legislation currently pending in Congress is constitutional.

“Federal legislation must have a legitimate national interest and cannot benefit any one state over another,” state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, said in a news release. “This legislation is an outrageous attempt to trick the American people into thinking government knows what’s best.”

The Republican request of Baker, a Democrat, isn’t the first the state’s attorney has received. On the eve of the bill’s Christmas Eve passage in the senate, U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., asked Baker to investigate whether a provision that requires federal taxpayers to cover the cost of new Medicaid beneficiaries in Nebraska is constitutional. Democrats added the provision to gain the vote of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has also made a similar request of Baker.

Earlier this week, Sen. Seth Harp, R-Midland, introduced the “Health Care Systems” bill, a constitutional amendment he says protects Georgia residents from any federally mandated health care programs and penalties. If approved by the General Assembly, voters would decide on the measure in November.

“We are poised on a slippery slope if we allow the government’s hand in our pockets and voice in our doctor’s office,” Harp said in a news release. “Passing this Amendment will help protect Georgians from disastrous health care mandates which allow government to control our basic liberties.

“This constitutional amendment helps safeguard the rights of Georgians to accept or reject any health care or health insurance plan on their own terms,” Harp added.

Hill estimates Georgians could pay an additional $1 billion if Congress passes the current legislation. The bill, Hill warns, could also result in state funding cuts.

“Underhanded legislative deals have real consequences that the Democratic leadership in the U.S. House and Senate do not seem to comprehend,” Hill said. “The remaining 49 states whose senators have not made special deals will have a huge price to pay if the Nebraska Compromise remains in the legislation.”

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