Joe Hoeffel was the first of the four Democratic gubernatorial candidates to take a position on health care reform and Tom Corbett's efforts to block it. We'll add reactions from the other candidates as they come in -- and via Pa2010, here's Pa Dem party chief T.J. Rooney calling the suit "ridiculous."
(UPDATED with Williams/Wagner/Onorato statements below)
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Hoeffel today lambasted Pennsylvania Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Tom Corbett for reportedly joining an effort of a few attorneys general nationwide to challenge in court the constitutionality of the health care legislation passed by Congress over the weekend.
At the same time, Hoeffel called on his Democratic counterparts Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner and Anthony Williams to join him in opposing what he called Corbett’s “wrongheaded and quixotic” attempt to negate the most important federal legislation since the 1964 Civil Rights bill.
“Mr. Corbett’s reported decision to join a small group of attorneys general from mostly conservative states to challenge this historic legislation is stupefying,” Hoeffel said. “The health care bill passed this weekend and about to be signed by the President is landmark legislation that will provide health insurance to tens of millions of Americans, end many insurance company abuses and over time reduce our national debt.”
“This is an historic moment in our national history, when countless Pennsylvania residents will have easier access, more affordable access to health care as a result of the reform law President Obama signed today,” said state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate. “That includes thousands of small business that will see a reduction in their health care costs, allowing them to hire new employees, create new jobs and get our economy back on track.
“It is disappointing to see the attorney general, whose job is to protect the law, attempt to undermine those goals and the law of the land. And on top of that, he’s using taxpayers’ money to try and block progress. He will have to look millions of people who are suffering in the eye and explain why he’s putting politics ahead of their personal health.”
Wagner spokesman Clint Eisenhower:
Jack supports the federal health care package because it will provide health insurance to an additional 1.3 million Pennsylvanians and will also provide a protective mechanism to those who are vulnerable to losing health care and to college students and young people who still live at home.
The challenge for the next Governor is to reform the structure of Pennsylvania's existing health care system and integrate the proposed federal regulations as efficiently and effectively as possible. As Governor, one of Jack's top priorities would be to reform Medicaid, which has an error rate that costs taxpayers at least $300 million per year.
The Onorato camp:
Pennsylvania families expect real solutions to health reform. But, instead of offering constructive policies, Tom Corbett is engaging in a taxpayer-funded political stunt with the goal of denying more people coverage and making affordable health care less accessible.
"As Allegheny County Executive, I have seen firsthand the devastation caused by the lack of competition, as costs continue to rise, individuals are priced out of the system, small businesses are destroyed and families are burdened with unsustainable expenses.
"I will be prepared as governor to help achieve the goal of improving affordability, access and quality in health care.
"Tom Corbett is working against Pennsylvania families by pursuing this lawsuit, which is a mistake and an unwise use of the Attorney General's office.