Montana tea party activists and Republican lawmakers are asking Attorney General Steve Bullock to join other states in suing the federal government over its health care plans, but Bullock says he thinks the case has little chance of success.
Rocky Hill of Helena, who said he currently has private health insurance, said he suspects the plan will inevitably lead to rationing of some types of health care products or procedures as a way to control costs.
He also said he also believes the measure wrongly establishes a new right for everyone to have government subsidized health care.
“I don't know that it will affect me much,” Hill said. “It will affect my children because they will have to pay for it all.”Associated Press. “Conservatives Want Mont. AG to Sue on Health Care”. New York Times. April 8, 2010, 9:32 AM ET. Available online as of 2010-04-08.
But there is no reason for Montana to be on the sidelines as an observer, especially when it appears that a majority of the state’s residents oppose the expanded federal role in health care.
If the attorney general chooses not to act, there is also room for the governor to file suit on his own, as has happened in other states. Montana Code authorizes the governor to “issue an executive order declaring the intention of Montana to not implement” any federal mandate that “does not meet Montana’s cost-effective needs, does not serve Montana public policy, or does not conform to Montana customs and culture.”
The same law authorizes the governor to “direct the attorney general to vigorously represent the state of Montana in any action that results from or that is necessary to effect the executive order.”
Although Gov. Brian Schweitzer has been silent on this subject thus far, his office informs the Inter Lake that the governor and his staff are examining the 2,700-page health-care bill and will make a decision later about what action to take.Editor. “Will State Take Role In Lawsuits?” (Northern Montana) Daily Interlake. April 9, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-08.