March 26, 2012

With early wake-up call, Maine state rep to see health-care history

By Jonathan Riskind
Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON – State Rep. Sharon Anglin Treat, D-Maine, is headed this morning for a front row seat to legal history.

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State Rep. Sharon Anglin Treat, D-Hallowell, stands in front of the Supreme Court today.

Photo by Jonathan Riskind

State Rep. Sharon Anglin Treat, D-Maine.

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The Hallowell Democrat got in line outside the U.S. Supreme Court at 5:20 a.m. this morning in her effort to attend the opening session today's of oral arguments over President Obama’s health care reform law.


She said via email a short time ago that it looks like she will indeed have a seat for the argument that begins at 10 a.m.


There will be six hours of arguments over three days to determine whether the law passes constitutional muster.


Treat believes the health care law, with its controversial mandate for most Americans to purchase health care coverage, should be allowed to stand, and said she traveled to Washington to “cheer on the legal team arguing to uphold the constitutionality of this law.”


Treat is the ranking member of the Maine Legislature’s Insurance & Financial Services Committee, a sponsor of the state proposal to implement a state health-insurance purchase exchange required by the law and a founding member of Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform.


Treat had a bit of an advantage over many others who are trying to get into the court this week. She is a member of the Supreme Court Bar, which puts her in a shorter line than most members of the public.


Treat said no taxpayer money is being used to finance her trip to Washington. She said she is paying part of the cost out of her own pocket and part with money from a nonprofit group that works with state legislators called the Progressive States Network.


Meanwhile on Wednesday, Maine Attorney General William Schneider plans to attend the afternoon session.


Schneider, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate, won't be one of the lawyers actually arguing the case before the justices. Rather, Schneider is there along with some other attorneys general to listen in on a case where Maine has signed a brief arguing that the law’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance coverage is unconstitutional.

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