Edmondson may challenge 'Cornhusker Kickback'
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Published: 05-Jan-2010

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, a Democrat, appears poised to join with at least 13 Republican state Attorneys General in challenging the legality of a political deal that helped assure passage of the U.S. Senate version of the federal health care bill on Christmas Eve. 

Replying Tuesday to a question from CapitolBeatOK, Edmondson spokesman Charlie Price said, "Attorney General Drew Edmondson is already working with a group of state Attorneys General about their concerns with the Nebraska part of that U.S. Senate health care bill. There are lawyers in several states have raised concerns about this, who are looking at constitutional concerns and other legal issues in this matter. The attorney general thinks this 'doesn't pass the smell test.'  It's not a matter of 'is he going to do anything,' he is already talking with others and working on that.”

Last week, the Associated Press reported from Columbia, South Carolina that 13 state Attorneys General said they would bring legal action if controversial provisions apparently designed to get the vote of Democrat U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska were not removed from the final version of the health care bill.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, also a Democrat, engineered what critics have called “the Cornhusker Kickback.” The measure involved at least $100 million in Medicaid spending solely in Nebraska to reduce the effect of anticipated health care cost changes.

In a letter to Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, another Democrat, the GOP AGs said, “As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision.”

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