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Press Release

Department of Law Reaffirms Statement on Health Care Lawsuit Cost

April 21, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska - In the wake of erroneous comments that the State of Alaska's participation in a lawsuit concerning federal health care legislation would cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars," the Department of Law today reaffirmed that any outside legal costs and expenses paid by Alaska would not exceed $5,000.

"As Attorney General Sullivan made clear in yesterday's news conference on the lawsuit, the state expects minimal costs from joining 20 other states that already are pursuing litigation asserting the unconstitutionality of certain sections of the federal health care act," said Bill McAllister, communications director for the Department of Law. "The lead plaintiff, the State of Florida, had estimated a cost of approximately $5,000 per state. Today, Attorney General Sullivan informed Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum that the $5,000 figure is the maximum amount our state will pay. McCollum fully agreed, and in fact said if more states join the lawsuit, the figure likely will be less."

No outside counsel assisted with the preparation of the 48-page legal memorandum released yesterday by the Department of Law, which had been requested by Governor Sean Parnell. The memorandum recommended that the governor join the Florida suit.

McAllister noted that in drafting the memorandum for the governor, the Department of Law spent the necessary time in researching and analyzing the important constitutional issues raised by the health care legislation.

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