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The New York Times (12/30, A19, Cave) reports that Florida Attorney General William McCollum, "a Republican who is running for governor in 2010," on Tuesday "questioned the constitutionality of the federal healthcare bill." McCollum called "on states to study whether to file suit to kill a provision requiring that individuals buy health insurance or pay a fine." He called the insurance mandate "an affront to our country's principles." The view "places him in line with the attorneys general of South Carolina and nearly a dozen other states who have also threatened to sue over the mandate."

        According to the Miami Herald (12/30, Logan), McCollum said the mandate "would penalize people who choose to do nothing, compared with the car-insurance requirement, which is connected with the decision to own a car and drive." He "directed his staff Tuesday to investigate the legality of" the requirement and "sent a letter to his counterparts in other states, asking them to join his investigation."

        The St. Petersburg Times (12/30, Logan) notes that McCollum "also said he will join other attorneys general looking into the constitutionality of a Senate bill provision that would pay for Nebraska's share of the proposed Medicaid expansion, a deal secured by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE)."

        The Christian Science Monitor (12/30, Richey) reports that the individual health insurance mandate "is a centerpiece of the healthcare bills currently pending in Congress." While "conservative analysts have been debating the legality of the measure for months," their liberal counterparts "have dismissed these concerns as overblown and political posturing."

        In a telephone conference with reporters, McCollum "rejected several questions about his motivation being political," the AP (12/30, Kallestad) reports. He said, "I'm not opposed to healthcare reform as such although I'm not happy about this particular bill." Florida's Palm Beach Post (12/30, Bender) also covers the story.

        Utah AG to join constitutional challenge. KSL-TV Salt Lake City (12/30) reports that Mark Shurtleff, Utah's attorney general, "is preparing to join a lawsuit that challenges the Senate's massive healthcare reform bill. Utah is one of 10 conservative states prepared to challenge the healthcare bill." The attorneys general "say the so-called Nebraska compromise part of the deal smells of corruption."


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