Corbett on Health Care

Gov. Corbett's brief comments Thursday on the Supreme Court upholding the controversial health-care law -- after which he declined to take questions -- wasn't the first time he was more political and less than specific on the issue.

Thursday, he read a statement from a podium outside his office. He said he was "disappointed,"offered a rendition of Republican talking points, said the law "may turn out to be one of the largest tax increases in the history of our nation," threw in a political plug -- "now more than ever we need change in Washington" -- and left.

Shortly thereafter, the Romney campaign issued a statement from Corbett that said, in part, "We need a leader who understands that real healthcare reform shouldn’t be a burden to taxpayers or come at the cost of American jobs. That leader is Mitt Romney.”

Some things have changed and some haven't.

Back in March 2010 as attorney general and candidate for governor, Corbett joined attorneys general from other states in a lawsuit to strike down health care and claimed the action had nothing to do with politics.

This despite the fact no Republican member of Congress voted for the law, state Senate President Joe Scarnati wanted a constitutional amendment to invalidate it in Pennsylvania and 86 state House Republicans came out in support of Corbett sueing the government.

Thursday he would not address the critical question of whether the state would go along with an expansion of Medicaid under the law and did not say when he'd be able to offer more information on the issue.

In 2010, when asked if he could justify his lawsuit by naming another example of sweeping domestic policy overturned by courts, he first said none came to mind then said the income tax.

It struck me at the time that an attorney general bringing legal action on a national issue might have better back-up in the precedent department.

There was a case (in 1895) in which the Supreme Court declared federal income tax unconstitutional, but it was rendered moot in 1913 by the 16th Amendment giving Congress taxing powers.

This health-care thing is far from finished. But the public would be better served if those in power and in the debate were willing to offer us more specifics and less politics.

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