AP – Barbour calls on Hood to challenge health care

JACKSON – Governor Haley Barbour on Monday asked Attorney General Jim Hood to challenge the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation approved by the U.S. House on Sunday.

The bill has serious constitutional problems, Barbour said, starting with the fact that it forces individuals to purchase health insurance.

“A physician’s creed is to ‘First, Do No Harm,’” Barbour said in a prepared release. “The health care legislation passed Sunday infects the economy with harmful tax increases, strips benefits from senior citizens and robs each citizen of their basic freedom to choose their own healthcare.”

Barbour requested an answer from Hood by noon Thursday. If Hood refuses to file suit, Barbour said he intends to file the lawsuit.

“This costly unfunded mandate could not have come at a worse time for our state’s economy,” he said. “Mississippi continues to see declining monthly revenue collections, and we have been forced to cut priority areas like education and public safety.

“Under the plan, 15 million people would be moved to the federal-state Medicaid program, which already strains our state budget every year. Once the temporary funding is gone, we can expect taxes to spike by hundreds of millions of dollars for Mississippians who will have to pay for this expanded program.”