Wednesday, February 10, 2010

36 States reject health care mandates

While President Obama is planning a bipartisan health care summit in an effort to break the legislative impasse in Washington, conservative lawmakers in more than two thirds of the states are busy constructing a legal firewall against federal mandates on health care:
Idaho House Republicans passed a bill Tuesday meant to scuttle proposed federal health care reforms that would require residents or companies to buy insurance.

The "Health Freedom Act," which passed on a 52-18 party line vote, would require Idaho to sue the federal government over any health insurance mandates. The measure, on an issue that has divided Democrats and Republicans across the nation, now goes to the Senate.

Though President Barack Obama's push for a health care overhaul has stalled, conservative lawmakers in about three dozen states are forging ahead with constitutional amendments, referendums and laws similar to Idaho's bill that aim to ban government health insurance mandates. Idaho lawmakers described their version as a pre-emptive strike against a Democratic-controlled Congress foisting top-down health reform on states that don't want it.

"It would be a terrible mistake for the state of Idaho to wait until a bill is passed," said Rep. Raul Labrador, an Eagle Republican running in the GOP primary for Congress. "If it happens and we have not addressed the issue in Idaho, then we're stuck with it."
Constitutional law experts have said the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution likely means any federal law requiring people to buy health insurance would trump state laws forbidding that requirement, but Christie Herrera, director of American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC)  Health and Human Services Task Force, which is coordinating the nationwide effort, disagrees:
“This is a battle that has been fought before and won before. States may protect individual liberties to a greater extent than the U.S. Constitution allows, and the courts must balance the competing interests. This is the foundation of the effort in Kansas and elsewhere—that health care choice is a civil liberties issue,” Herrera added.

The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act has already been filed or prefiled in 30 states—Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Lawmakers in an additional 4 states—Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Utah—have publicly announced their intentions to file the legislation. A citizen-led initiative has also been announced in Colorado.

Arizona’s measure, which passed the legislature last June, will be put before voters there on the November ballot.
Whether state efforts will actually forestall the government takeover of health care is anybody's guess, but I seriously doubt these bold legislative maneuvers in 36 states in an election year will be ignored by congressional Democrats up for reelection in November.

Jon N. Hall at American Thinker has written a related, thought-provoking piece here.


  1. It is clear that the majority of voters did not want this type of health care change. Obama, who often referred to a more pragmatic government, has clearly violated his own political philosophy of pragmatism. He failed pragmatism in that he has been guided by self-will rather than the will of the people.

    Even if there were a a slight majority of people for this change it would be unwise to make such a tremendous leap that would likely cause such a wide gap in civil relations. But his slight majority does not exist, and governing officials that even consider themselves so above the people who elected them demonstrate that they have a hidden agenda that goes far beyond serving the general public.
    It is high time to get all of this corruption out. We must keep in mind that many of the republicans who now say no, have also said yes when it comes to implementing this government money in their home states. These Republicans who play both sides need to be ousted as well.

  2. “This is a battle that has been fought before and won before. States may protect individual liberties to a greater extent than the U.S. Constitution allows, and the courts must balance the competing interests.