Attorney General Dustin McDaniel still doesn't think lawsuits against the health care reform law will prevail, but he also thinks opponents of it are already adequately represented in the multiple suits brought by Republican officials around the country.
He issued a statement after explaining all this to rising Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, who's made haranguing McDaniel about filing this suit the state lottery of his tenure. He's making the lottery look better in retrospect. Bill Halter wanted to provide college scholarships to Arkansas kids. Mark Darr is hellbent on depriving poor and middle class people of health insurance coverage and medical treatment.
Darr vows to fight on. He comes close to repeating what Politifact has called the political lie of the yearr — by saying this legislation requires "government-run" health insurance. It doesn't Blue Cross and the rest will get richer than ever. They'll just have more customers. And not be able to toss sick people and children.
McDaniel's statement, followed by Darr's:
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued the following statement today after a meeting with Lt. Gov.-Elect Mark Darr:
“Today, the Lieutenant Governor-Elect accepted my invitation to be briefed regarding the status of the many healthcare reform lawsuits across the nation. We met at the Attorney General’s office this afternoon.
“The purpose of our meeting was to provide Mr. Darr with a comprehensive overview of the litigation and the actions currently being undertaken by my office. I, along with lawyers from my office, presented a thorough briefing on the procedural status and legal arguments in each of the pending cases.
“My view has been — and remains even in light of Monday’s decision by a federal district court in Virginia — that Arkansas does not need to spend money by officially joining any of the lawsuits. The arguments being made across the nation are consistent, and our research concludes that the appropriate questions of law are being raised by all parties. There would be no point in joining a lawsuit in which we would have to pay for lawyers to travel to and from Florida on the taxpayers’ dime, when they almost certainly would not even be allowed to speak during hearings.
“As I have stated previously, I believe that the Supreme Court will determine that the policy decisions made in Washington were constitutional based on existing precedent. That said, if the Supreme Court departs from precedent and determines differently, I will work to ensure that Arkansas complies with its ruling.
“I believe that Lt. Gov.-Elect Darr genuinely wanted to learn more about our view of the cases and the role of the Attorney General’s Office, which was why I invited him to sit down with me today.
“As I start my second term, I will continue to fight to protect Arkansans from fraud, protect children from sexual predators and ensure that our school system is a model for the nation. That is my commitment. I would welcome and appreciate the Lieutenant Governor-Elect’s support for these important priorities moving forward.”
FROM MARK DARR
Lieutenant Governor-Elect Mark Darr released this statement today after meeting with Attorney General Dustin McDaniel:
“This afternoon I met with the Attorney General to discuss the status of the various lawsuits filed regarding the federally run health care program. Specifically, the Attorney General briefed me on his position that Arkansas should not join the lawsuit filed by other states that argue the law to be unconstitutional. I appreciate the hospitality extended to me by the Attorney General and his staff. He and his staff have been both courteous and professional in our discussion of this important issue.
“My position on the Obama administration’s health care reform law remains the same as it was prior to the election. The recent court ruling in Virginia declaring the law unconstitutional and specifically striking the individual mandate portion of the law has served to strengthened my resolve to oppose this dangerous legislation. I join the vast majority of Arkansans in my opposition to health insurance being mandated and run by the federal government. I believe the law is both costly and an overreach of power on behalf of the government.
“This meeting today was a step in fulfilling my commitment to be an advocate for the people of our state that are genuinely concerned and opposed to this new law. I still believe that joining the lawsuit would be the proper course of action for our state.
“In the days to come I will closely be watching the actions of the new Congress to see if they overturn or significantly alter the law. I will also encourage members of the Arkansas general assembly to pass state legislation that will impede its implementation in Arkansas and above all I will keep every option on the table to fight for Arkansans.
"As the Lieutenant Governor I look forward to working with the Attorney General and other elected officials to ensure that we create a better Arkansas.”