Topeka Kansas Attorney General Steve Six is taking a wait-and-see approach on whether federal health care reform, if approved, would violate any constitutional provision.
The issue arises as Democrats in Congress move closer to handing a bill to President Barack Obama that would eventually require nearly all Americans to have coverage, help many pay for it, and prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Republicans oppose the efforts, and in some states, including Kansas, GOP state lawmakers have proposed measures to thwart proposed federal reforms.
Earlier this week, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican who is running for governor in that state, said he hoped to organize other state attorneys general to challenge some provisions of the federal legislation, including one that establishes penalties against people who don’t buy coverage.
In a letter sent to his fellow attorneys general, McCollum said, “I believe our analysis is needed in order to provide Congress our input, and more importantly to protect our states and citizens from a potentially unconstitutional federal mandate.”
Six, a Democrat, was asked if he would join such an effort. His spokeswoman Ashley Anstaett said, “Our office is reviewing the health care reform bill for any concerns regarding its constitutionality. If the bill is passed into law and we have determined that legal issues exist, we will take appropriate action,” she said. “We have not been contacted by any Kansas officials,” to look into the matter, Anstaett added.
Conservative legal groups, such as the Heritage Foundation, have argued that Congress cannot require people to purchase private insurance contracts.