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Drew Sheneman |The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger

State’s ill-timed Obamacare suit nakedly political

With the blessing of Gov. Mike Pence, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has elected to sue the IRS challenging the Affordable Care Act.

While it took Zoeller six months to draft the language of his lawsuit, he seems not to have read it.

Hidden away in its pages is language that seeks to eliminate subsidies for low-income purchasers of health insurance.

The suit also seeks to undercut the requirement that large employers provide health care insurance.

Zoeller has now written an op-ed piece (“An issue of state interest/Clarification sought on ACA,” Oct. 17) showing that he is troubled by the reaction to his efforts to end health insurance for Hoosiers.

He doesn’t want to be criticized for his own carefully timed lawsuit or his own choice of claims to make.

He has made it clear in his own words that he is not acting for our people or our employers in pursuing this action. Rather, he wants to assert some variety of states’ rights : “My office does not represent individuals or private-sector employers but rather the sovereign authority of Indiana.”

Our attorney general and our governor are exhibiting an utter indifference to the health care of millions of Hoosiers.

They should dismiss this lawsuit now.

Zoeller filed this lawsuit but wants to put the blame for any harm on the judiciary. He suggests that he has no particular remedy in mind, but just wants the judge to decide. If he doesn’t know what he wants, he should not be in court.

He suggests that the state faces ruinous taxes at some unknown future date.

Thousands of people across Indiana face illness and bankruptcy now if they go uninsured.

But of course our attorney general tells us in his letter that he “does not represent individuals ...”

Zoeller and Pence grudgingly concede that for now we can go to the federal marketplace for needed coverage. But they do not want Hoosiers to get the subsidies the law provides.

Hoosiers can hardly be grateful for that grudging concession.

We have no love for the IRS. Still, we doubt that it is lying in wait to seize “millions” from our state because one state employee is put into a wrong category.

It is clear who is trying to hurt Hoosiers: It is the self-appointed proponents of a twisted idea of “sovereignty.”

If the attorney general won’t dismiss this ill-advised political lawsuit, the governor and he should explain why.

The time for legal and political games is over. It is time to get people insured. Indiana should be here to help its people.

As legislators, we can live with the idea that ideology leads some to deny science or the laws of economics. However, we cannot sit by while elected leaders try to deny us the insurance we need to protect our health.

The state should be signing up people for health care, not seeking to end it.

Rep. Charlie Brown is a Democrat from Gary. Rep. Ed DeLaney is a Democrat from Indianapolis. They wrote this for Indiana newspapers.

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