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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Democrats in the North Carolina Senate are asking why the state should spend anything in these grave financial times to join a court challenge of the federal health care overhaul.

A Senate judiciary committee on Tuesday debated a House bill that would block a requirement in the federal law that most people buy health insurance or face a penalty. The measure also would direct Attorney General Roy Cooper to join a lawsuit challenging the law.

Democratic Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham County said he can’t understand why GOP lawmakers want to spend time and money on the fight already waged in court by half the states.

Republican House leader Paul Stam of Wake County says the state’s upfront costs would be trivial and could save more than $1 billion in Medicaid costs.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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