Rhode Island

This article is part of the State Status and News series related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri (kuh-CHEHR'-ee) wants the state's top lawyer to join more than a dozen other attorneys general in opposing the federal health care overhaul.

Carcieri, a Republican, told state Attorney General Patrick Lynch on Monday that Rhode Island should join 14 other states in challenging the constitutionality of the reforms. He says it's unconstitutional to force the citizens of the state to purchase health insurance.

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AP Exchange. “Ri Gov Wants Ag To Sue Over Health Care Overhaul”. (Jackson, Mississippi) WJTV. May 10, 2010. Available online as of 2010-05-12.

Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch says he will not join the 20 attorneys general who are challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health-care law.

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The attorney general, a candidate for governor, announced his position Monday in response to a letter from Governor Carcieri that called on him to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation, which was signed into law by President Obama on March 23.

In his letter, Carcieri called the law an “unnecessary and probably unconstitutional intrusion of the federal government into the lives of Rhode Islanders.” The governor objects to provisions in the law that require individuals to purchase health insurance and the state to establish an insurance exchange.

“In my opinion,” Carcieri wrote, “the health-care legislation will raise the costs of health care for Rhode Islanders, lower the quality of care and shift another unfunded mandate on a state already overburdened with budget deficits.”

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Amy Kempe, Carcieri’s spokeswoman, said the governor sent the letter on Friday because “the governor has been looking at how best to move forward.” If Lynch doesn’t file suit, “the governor is going to continue to look at other avenues and options.”

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Freyer, Felice J. “RI attorney general refuses governor’s request to challenge new U.S. health-care law”. May 11, 2010. (Rhode Island) Providence Journal. Available online as of 2010-05-12.