Governor: Health care lawsuit won’t be expensive

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Gov. Haley Barbour sent a letter to Attorney General Jim Hood on Tuesday reaffirming his plan to join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health care bill.
In the letter, the Republican governor said the attorneys representing Mississippi and other states have agreed to cap their pay at $50,000.
“The lawsuit will cost Mississippi a fraction of that amount,” Barbour said in his letter to Hood.
Barbour had urged Hood, a Democrat, to file suit on behalf of the state. Hood declined to do so, saying he doubted the merits of the lawsuit, but would monitor the lawsuit and would consider joining at a later date if worthy issues arose.
Barbour plans to join a lawsuit initiated by the Florida attorney general, possibly by mid-May. About 20 states are expected to be part of that action.
The suit is expected to allege that the federal government cannot mandate that people buy health insurance and that the new federal law places an unfunded mandate on the states.
Barbour said in the letter that Jackson attorney Michael Wallace would advise him on the lawsuit at no cost. Wallace long has been involved in Republican politics and was nominated for the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by then-president George W. Bush.
The Senate did not confirm Wallace for the judgeship after the American Bar Association rated him as “not qualified.” Wallace supporters said he received the rating because of a liberal bias by the leadership of the American Bar Association.

Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or bobby.harrison@djournal.com.