His state attorney general is a Democrat, and it's unclear whether or not he's going to go forward.
Governor Rendell, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, is in the opposite position. He opposes a suit and his Republican attorney general in that
state is going forward with a lawsuit.
Governor Barbour, I'd like to start with you. As you know, a lot of
legal experts think that this lawsuit is folly. We asked the former solicitor general for President Ronald Reagan, Charles Fried, what he thought about this lawsuit, and here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES FRIED, FMR. U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Anybody who proposes something like this is either ignorant -- I mean, deeply ignorant -- or just grandstanding in a preposterous way.
It is simply a political ploy and a pathetic one at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, Governor Barbour, I think that's stronger than even Governor Rendell would say.
TAPPER: What is your response to the former solicitor general for Ronald Reagan?
BARBOUR: The solicitor general that needs to quit sugar-coating it.
No, the fact of the matter is this is an issue that is under our Constitution, where the powers of the federal government are limited; does the federal government have the power and authority to require, force every citizen to buy a product, in this case health insurance?
And in this case, it's not only you must buy a product called health
insurance; you must buy a product that has been approved by the United States government, and the price of that product will be fixed by the United States.
I do not believe the United States government has a right, it has the authority or power to force us to purchase health insurance any more
than, in the name of homeland security, they can force every American to
have to buy a gun.
TAPPER: Governor Rendell, your response?
RENDELL: Well, the solicitor general is absolutely right. This is a frivolous lawsuit. It's a waste of taxpayers' dollars at a time when all the states are fighting to preserve those dollars.
Look, the commerce clause says you can not only regulate interstate activity; you can regulate intrastate activity when it's part of a broad
scheme and it's necessary to do so.
Look, the only way health insurance companies -- and, by the way, this is not a government takeover. We left the private health insurance
The only way they can afford to give coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, people who get sick or college kids up to 26 who are staying with their parents -- the only way they can afford to do
that is if everyone goes into the insurance pool. It's easily within the power of the federal government. These lawsuits are frivolous.
TAPPER: So, Governor Rendell, I want to ask you a question. One side effect of expanding insurance coverage to so many millions of Americans at once is that the system is unprepared for it; there simply aren't the doctors; there simply isn't the infrastructure.
And in fact, after Massachusetts passed its health care bill, new patients now have to wait 44 days to see a primary care physicians, and only 44 percent of internists are accepting new patients.
How are you going to sell that to Pennsylvanians?
RENDELL: Well, first of all, there's a phase-in. The mandate doesn't occur right away, as you know, Jake, so there's a phase-in, and there's time to build up, number one.