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January 20, 2011 8:20 am

EDITORIAL: Lawsuit not the way on health care

Written by Don Amend

Our new governor, Matt Mead, quickly fulfilled one of his campaign promises when he announced shortly after his inauguration that Wyoming would join a multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care reform act.

This is in contrast to Mead’s predecessor, Dave Freudenthal, who chose not to send the state down that path, believing it would be a waste of the state’s money.

Freudenthal had a point. Although Mead indicated in a speech last week that the cost to Wyoming will be minimal, it is difficult to imagine that a case such as this one will be settled quickly and cheaply.

While the main issue in contention is the mandate that all of us buy health insurance, the law is complex, and any number of issues may arise to lengthen the proceedings. Its complexity is, in fact, one of the criticisms of the act.

An indication that the court action will be long and difficult lies in the opinions of three federal judges who have reviewed the case. One has said the mandate that all of us must purchase health insurance is unconstitutional; the other two have indicated that it is constitutional.

In the end, a court decision won’t resolve the health care issue, regardless of which side wins.  Cost and accessibility will continue to have an impact on our economy and our social structure, and all of us will, in one way or another, feel that impact.

To address those issues, we need, not another court case, but a sober effort, free of overheated rhetoric, to find solutions.

That’s where Wyoming should spend its money.

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