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Oklahoma attorney general Drew Edmondson expresses concern over health care bill

By TIM TALLEY, Associated Press Writer Modified: January 15, 2010 at 6:05 pm •  Published: January 15, 2010
Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Friday he has joined 14 of his counterparts in urging congressional leaders to strike a provision from the health care reform bill they say includes an unconstitutional political deal for the state of Nebraska.

Edmondson and South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster are leading a delegation of attorneys general in asking Congress to strike the provision in the Senate version of the bill. The provision involves language requiring the federal government to bear the cost of Nebraska Medicaid enrollees deemed newly eligible under the pending bill's new Medicaid mandates.

"No other state is afforded this type of windfall," Edmondson said. "The new mandates will place an additional financial burden on Oklahoma and every other state, except Nebraska."

The attorneys general faxed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, early Friday.

"As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision, if it becomes law and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision," the attorneys general said in the letter.

Edmondson said Friday afternoon he had not received a response.

Attorneys general in several states sent a similar letter last month to Pelosi and Reid.

Aside from Edmondson and McMaster, the letter was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, the state of Washington and the U.S. territory of American Samoa.

Congressional Democrats are striking final deals on President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul after key labor unions on Thursday won concessions and pledged their support.

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