Candidate for Governor also supports state action to challenge federal healthcare bill

WAUKESHA, Wis. - Jan. 13, 2010 - As Congress finalizes a sweeping healthcare bill, candidate for Governor Mark Neumann called for protecting the right of Wisconsin citizens to opt out of federal requirements, and urged the state Justice Department to be prepared to fight a potentially unconstitutional provision in the bill.

"Folks in Wisconsin have the right to choose private healthcare insurance and should be able to say 'no' to government-imposed coverage," Neumann said.

Many other states are considering constitutional amendments that aim to preserve private healthcare choice. In Wisconsin, a Senate Joint Resolution currently in draft form, (LRB-3861/1), and likely to be introduced by state Sen. Joe Leibham of Sheboygan would preserve choice and private healthcare options in Wisconsin. Neumann said he supports the idea.

In addition, more than a dozen state attorneys general are considering a constitutional challenge to thehealth care bill. Their objections are based on the Senate version of the legislation, which would exempt Nebraska from having to pay for a mandated expansion of Medicaid. Critics believe that would violate commerce and tax uniformity guarantees by treating one state differently from others.

Published reports indicate that Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is taking a 'wait and see' approach as the federal legislation is crafted. Neumann said that he understands this perspective, but Wisconsin should still be prepared to act quickly in support of a constitutional challenge.

"I trust Attorney General Van Hollen would agree that Wisconsin taxpayers should not be forced to pick up the tab for an increase in Nebraska's Medicaid bill," Neumann noted. "As governor, I would work with and support the Attorney General on this issue. I would also encourage passage of the proposed constitutional amendment in the Legislature, which will ultimately give the power to the people to vote on this amendment." Neumann stressed that his concerns over the federal healthcare legislation run deeper than the Nebraska exemption.

"The bottom line is that our citizens must be protected from any unfair and potentially unconstitutional Congressional action," Neumann added. "By forcing citizens to buy health insurance, the federal bill will be problematic no matter what form it takes. Even setting aside the huge cost to taxpayers, this is shaping up to be an excessive and troubling overreach by the federal government, and challenges are likely once the final legislation is unveiled."

Join Mark Neumann in the fight against federal healthcare mandates at