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Challenging the health reform challenge

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Six Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates will vie for their party’s nomination Tuesday. Both Republicans say the new federal health law is unconstitutional. Meanwhile all the Democrats say it’s a mistake for Pennsylvania to sue over the health overhaul.

During the long health care debate, pundits said a politician’s support for the new health law could become a litmus test for many voters.

Berks County Republican state Representative Sam Rohrer says Congress exceeded its authority.

Rohrer: Jumping that wall of the Tenth Amendment and attempting to go to right to the level of every citizen and telling them what they can an can not do relative to their health care, it’s out of control, and it’s unconstitutional.

Republican frontrunner, Tom Corbett decided to join other GOP attorneys general and sue the federal government. Corbett declined WHYY’s interview request, but in a written statement his spokeswoman said Corbett “believes that Pennsylvanians deserve access to quality healthcare, but not mandated coverage.”

State Senator Anthony Williams, a Philadelphia Democrat, says the government requires residents to participate in many things that benefit the public.

Williams: Such as auto insurance, home owners insurance, and in this case the consequence to the general public when you don’t have insurance is for us to pay the bill when you get to the emergency room.

Among the Democrats, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato called Corbett’s decision a “political stunt.”

Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel says he’s confident the health law will stand.

Hoeffel: The chances of overturning it are extremely low, and I feel embarrassed that Pennsylvania’s Attorney General is part of the small group trying to overturn it.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Auditor General, Jack Wagner calls the constitutional challenge a waste of state resources.

Wagner: It is a piece of legislation that is not perfect, but all of us must work with it.

Whoever becomes governor may have little influence over Pennsylvania’s participation in the lawsuit. The final decision belongs to the attorney general.

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