Nevada to join health care suit |

Nevada to join health care suit

Associated Press Writer

LAS VEGAS – Gov. Jim Gibbons signed an executive order on Tuesday for Nevada to join 14 other states suing the federal government over health care reform.

The Republican governor said the state would be represented by Las Vegas lawyer Mark Hutchison after Democratic Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto refused an earlier directive from Gibbons to join the multistate challenge to the health bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.

“Overall, the bill is unconstitutional and should not be allowed to stand,” Gibbons said at a news conference where he signed the order.

The measure will cost Nevada taxpayers $2.4 billion in additional state and federal taxes, Gibbons said.

But Masto has said any outcome to lawsuits over the bill would apply to Nevada whether it joins or not.

Masto’s office did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Hutchison said Nevada’s objections to the law will be similar to other states, but he said the suit will be stronger with Nevada taking part.

“It’s always a better lawsuit and judges always pay more attention when there are more parties involved,” Hutchison said.

Gibbons said the state will pay less than $5,000 to join the lawsuit, which is filed in federal court in Pensacola, Fla. He said the cost was worthwhile given the cost of the legislation if it stands.

Hutchison will not be paid to represent the state, but he said he imagines the work will require hundreds of hours per month.

Gibbons said the move was not political, even though he faces a tough bid this year for re-election.

“Unfortunately, the Constitution is neither Republican nor Democrat and that answer should be that the Constitution is primary and supersedes any consideration of politics,” Gibbons said.

“We have to do this,” he said. “It is a must for the executive branch to undertake this litigation.”


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