(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Gov. Jim Gibbons said today he will ask the state attorney general to review the health care legislation scheduled for a vote tomorrow in the U.S. Senate to determine if it violates the U.S. Constitution by forcing everyone to have health insurance.
Gibbons said governors in several states have asked their legal advisors to perform such a review. Earlier today, the bill survived a challenges by Republican Senators led by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., seeking an examination of the bill because of the constitutionality question on the health insurance mandate.
In addition to seeking the review, Gibbons continued to attack the measure pushed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for “handing out billions of dollars in taxpayer financed ‘inducements’ to muster the votes needed to pass his health care package.”
Gibbons also responded to a comment by Reid spokesman Jon Summers made earlier this week that he should read the legislation before criticizing it.
“We have read the bill and that’s exactly what troubles us,” Gibbons said. “Sen. Reid keeps saying his enticements to other senators to coerce them to support his bill are just compromise and politics as usual. But if any citizen used these tactics in day-to-day business deals, they would be led away in handcuffs and charged with bribery.”
Summers responded: “Jim Gibbons has made it very clear that his plan is to continue using taxpayer dollars to fund political hits on Sen. Reid by parroting the national Republican Party’s talking points.
“As the governor of a state with the second highest rate of uninsured in the country, this self-proclaimed fiscal conservative thinks it’s fine for taxpayers to foot the bill for people whose only option to see a doctor is in the emergency room.”
Summers also said: “Gibbons would rather 24,000 small businesses not receive the tax credit Sen. Reid included to help make it more affordable for them to provide insurance to their employees. And while Nevada families are scraping to get by, he thinks it’s better for them to miss out on a $1,600 savings on their insurance premiums.”
Gibbons said the Senate version of the health care legislation will cost state taxpayers $613 million over six years beginning in 2014 when a three-year federal payment to cover the cost of an increased Medicaid caseload goes away.
Gibbons said after a review of the legislation, “It is clear that many businesses will find it more profitable to pay a federal penalty and end the health insurance they provide to their employees. Those working families will be forced onto Nevada Medicaid. This, alone, will make the state Medicaid enrollment bulge beyond affordable capacity. This will also cut off health insurance many Nevadans presently enjoy.”