December 24th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Rell urges Blumenthal to fight health care clause

Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Wednesday asked Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 to “immediately pursue legal action” against the federal government after Senate Democrats included a contentious provision in the health care reform bill that would fully reimburse the state of Nebraska for the cost of Medicaid expansion.

In a letter to Blumenthal, Rell said she was appalled by what she called the inequity of the provision — Connecticut is only reimbursed for 50 percent of the cost of Medicaid, the state-administered government healthcare program for the poor — and that she thinks Democrats, who needed Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson’s support for the bill to achieve a filibuster-proof majority, bought his vote.

“Our 50 states should be treated equally,” Rell said. “No preference should be given to one state over another.”

In the letter, Rell estimated that if the Nebraska agreement were applied to Connecticut, the state could receive up to $262 million annually in Medicaid reimbursements. She urged Blumenthal to take action if the bill passes in its current form to ensure that Connecticut receives full reimbursement for the cost of Medicaid expansion.

Blumenthal said in a statement that his office would review the governor’s request but maintained that legal action was premature.

“A lawsuit to stop or modify a pending bill is legally impossible,” the statement said.

Attorneys general from Alabama, Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and Colorado have discussed court challenges to Nebraska’s special treatment.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill at 8 a.m. Thursday. If passed, the bill will still have to be reconciled with the version approved in November by the House of Representatives.