A group of Idaho physicians made a house call Wednesday afternoon to State Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. The patient's vitals? Warm and cordial. The diagnosis? Agree to disagree.
The subject was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as the new health-care reform law. Wasden has joined a 20 state lawsuit to block implementation of the law. A group of physicians signed a letter earlier this month stating the suit might harm their patients or delay the implementation of the act.
"We agree that health care in this country needs to be improved," Wasden told Citydesk. "It needs to be fixed. It needs to be remedied."
"That's right," confirmed Dr. Timothy McHugh of Meridian, one of the attendees. "But the attorney general said this was really a matter of law and whether the new health-care reform act is in synch with the U.S. Constitution."
"The question is really about the system that has been put into affect by this new statute and whether it fits into the confines of the Constitution," said Wasden. "It is not a question about policy."
Wasden told Citydesk he fully expects the entire matter to make its way to the Supreme Court. And whether it takes two years or more, Wasden said, "The federal legislation is now the law. It is the law of the land. And all of those processes to implement the reform need to move forward."
Citydesk asked the attorney general about last week's Idaho visit by Regional Director of Health and Human Services Susan Johnson. Johnson said the A.G. should, "Slow down and take a deep breath before going forward the lawsuit."
"I don't comment on hearsay," said Wasden. "But I'm more than happy to meet with her in person at any time."