Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania's attorney general, joined a dozen counterparts in other states Tuesday in litigation that, if successful, will take newly won access to health care away from millions of Americans.
They will tell you it's all about the Constitution and that the document "nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage," according to their lawsuit.
In reality, it's using tax dollars to try to capture the tea party vote in assorted state races later this year. Mr. Corbett of Shaler is, of course, seeking the Republican nomination for governor. The leader of the health reform litigants is Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, another candidate for governor.
All but one of the attorneys involved are Republicans and their suit against the federal government, filed in Pensacola, Fla., dovetails with a GOP political strategy for winning election in countless state contests this fall. Fox News commentator Dick Morris and former Bush White House strategist Karl Rove have told Republican candidates that they can be victorious on election night if they nationalize their campaigns around issues like health care. Mr. Morris, in fact, delivered his message to a Republican State Committee meeting last month in Harrisburg.
To gain votes from those who unsuccessfully opposed the health-insurance reform, Mr. Corbett and others don't even have to win in court; they only need to maintain an outspoken legal opposition until the Nov. 2 election. Such a political charade is an unconscionable use of public dollars -- and for many Pennsylvanians, not to mention this newspaper, could be disqualifying when it comes time to support a gubernatorial candidate.
It could backfire in another way. Mr. Corbett and the others have now declared themselves as litigants seeking an outcome that would make seniors suffer the high cost of Medicare's prescription drug "doughnut hole," force young adults off their parents' insurance plan as early as age 19 and let insurers deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition.
These are only a few of the horribles that will return if Tom Corbett & Co. have their way in court. The attorney general says this is about a law that "threatens every citizen's individual liberties." The big picture shows it's about something else.