State Attorney General Tom Corbett is trying to raise cash for his run for governor from his participation in a federal lawsuit challenging the health care reform legislation passed by the U.S. House last week and signed into law by President Obama. And while that may appeal to the conservative voters who turn out for the May 18 Republican primary election, it also plays right into the hands of Democrats who accuse Corbett of playing partisan politics with national health care policy.
Corbett's campaign issued a four-page fund-raising letter in February and again a few weeks ago, before the health care legislation was approved, according to campaign manager Brian Nutt. The letter from Corbett, addressed "Dear fellow conservative," says he is "leading the fight against 'Obamacare'" and asks for a "generous gift of $2,000, $1,000, $500 or even $250 today?" Corbett calls the legislation a "health-care monstrosity" that will allow government bureaucrats to intrude on decisions between doctors and patients, causing the demise of the state's private-sector health care. The letter goes on to say:
"You see, I'm 100 percent opposed to President Barack Obama's plans to impose government-run, socialized medicine on Pennsylvania and her citizens. I also adamantly oppose the massive tax increases that are included in this legislation. If 'Obamacare' goes into effect as planned, it will be one of the largest unfunded government mandates of all time. It will cost Pennsylvania state government billions as new, first time enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid will send costs through the roof."
Corbett and 12 other state attorneys general -- 12 Republicans, one Democrat, several running for higher elective office this year -- filed their lawsuit in Pensacola, Fla. last week. They say the legislation's requirement that individuals purchase health care insurance is an unconstitutional mandate impacting interstate commerce.
Corbett was quickly denounced by Rendell and the four Democrats running for governor: Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, state Auditor General Jack Wagner, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel and state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams. Rendell said the lawsuit was a political stunt that Corbett didn't need since he is "probably the favorite to become the next governor."