Poizner takes aim at federal health reform

The federal health care overhaul will make it harder for California to balance its budget, Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner plans to say in a speech in Beverly Hills tonight, an aide said.

The law "could cost a trillion dollars, with a half trillion in new taxes and several unfunded mandates on our state," Poizner, the state's insurance commissioner, said Monday.

"California's consumers will bear the burden of higher health insurance premiums and health care costs, in addition to an onerous federal mandate that will require residents to have health insurance, whether they want it or not."

Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, said the law "will have a strong and positive impact on our state's economy" and "remove a major obstacle to our work to turn the economy around and sustain real job growth for the future."

But since the bill's passage Sunday, Poizner has called on Attorney General Jerry Brown, the presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee, to join other attorneys general in filing suit to challenge the constitutionality of the law, claiming it violates states' rights.

Poizner will reiterate that call at tonight's speech at a meeting of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, campaign communications director Jarrod Agen told a local wire service.

Brown said Tuesday he "instructed deputies in my office to carefully review these claims in light of applicable constitutional principles."

Poizner's rival for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, former eBay chief executive officer Meg Whitman, also believes the new law "will force states like California to shoulder billions in future unfunded mandates," press secretary Sarah Pompei said.

Whitman "supports the states attorneys general who are filing suit to overturn the legislation," Pompei said. "With California poised to shoulder billions of future costs as a result of this bill, Meg would urge Attorney General Jerry Brown to join them."

Poizner will also use tonight's speech to discuss his call for across-the-board tax cuts to revive the state's economy, Agen said.

Poizner is scheduled to begin his day in Sacramento, addressing the Alliance of California Law Enforcement's Legislative Day, the only event on Whitman's public schedule today.