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Healthcare Debate Raging In Augusta 

The debate over health care was raging in Augusta Wednesday afterMaine joined a growing number of states in a lawsuit challenging the new federal health care law. Attorney General Bill Schneider signed Maine on to the Florida based lawsuit challenging the national health care law, a decision he says is not political. Schneider says two provisions are unconstitutional. Mandating Americans to have health insurance and increasing the eligibility standards for people on Medicaid. “They’re beyond the power that Congress has over the people of the United States,” Schneider says.Dozens of people showed up at the State House Wednesday to voice their displeasure. Jennie Pirkl is a health care organizer at the Maine People’s Alliance and one of the speakers at the rally. “Right now, Governor LePage, Attorney General Schneider, Congress and the Maine Legislature all have a choice. They can stand up for the people of Maine by supporting the Affordable Care Act or they can stand against us by working to dismantle it,” Pirkl told the crowd.Dan Meyer, small business owner in Maine, also spoke out against the lawsuit and in favor of the federal healthcare law. “When we all have the public health insurance that the Governor and the Attorney General have right now, then they can dismantle Obama-care,” Meyer said.But some folks, like Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative think tank, showed up to applaud the Attorney General’s decision. “Health care is one of those things that we all want as much health care as someone else will pay for,” he said.Some lawmakers in Augusta say joining this lawsuit is a waste of time and money. “For us to have joined the lawsuit and to have spent Maine’s taxpayer’s dollars to join doesn’t even mean anything. Either the lawsuit is going to go forward or it is not,” said Senator Margaret Craven from Lewiston. Folks from the Maine People’s Alliance say joining the lawsuit would cost Maine taxpayers around $400,000. The Attorney General says that’s not the case. “So far, it’s cost us really nothing,” Schneider says. “I’ve spent a couple hours on it and somebody else in my office has spent a couple hours on it and we get paid no matter what we’re working on. so it’s really cost the state nothing.”Schneider says he ultimately expects the matter to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.