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  • Outside the Beltway: States Consider Prohibiting the Individual Mandate

    The Washington Post reports that the Virginia Senate passed a measure yesterday that that would prohibit the imposition of the individual mandate — a feature of both the current House and Senate health care bills. Besides being the first state to adopt such a measure, it is especially remarkable coming out of the Virginia Senate, where Democrats hold the majority. As The Post reports, the measure came “less than a week after President Obama implored Democrats in Washington not to abandon their health-care efforts” during the State of the Union.

    According to another story in the Associated Press, an increasing number of state legislatures have begun considering such legislation. The individual mandate — which would force all U.S. citizens to purchase health insurance — has outraged many Americans and has led to a public backlash against the proposal.

    According to the AP:

    Lawmakers in 35 states have filed or proposed amendments to their state constitutions or statutes rejecting health insurance mandates, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit group that promotes limited government that is helping coordinate the efforts. Many of those proposals are targeted for the November ballot, assuring that health care remains a hot topic as hundreds of federal and state lawmakers face re-election.

    Supporters of the state measures portray them as a way of defending individual rights and state sovereignty, asserting that the federal government has no authority to tell states and their citizens to buy health insurance.

    “I think the alarm bell has been rung,” said Clint Bolick, the constitutional litigation director at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, which helped craft an Arizona amendment on this November’s ballot that has been used as a model in other states.

    “These amendments are a way to manifest grass roots opposition” to federal health insurance mandates, Bolick said. “They kind of have a life of their own at this point. So while some of the pressure may be off, I think that this movement has legs.”

    There is some discussion as to whether these measures, even if adopted, will have much effect if Congress manages to pass a health care bill with an individual mandate.

    “They are merely symbolic gestures,” said Michael Dorf, a constitutional law professor at Cornell University. “If this Congress were to pass an individual mandate, and if it is constitutional — which I believe it is — the express rule under the supremacy clause (of the U.S. Constitution) is that the federal law prevails.”

    However, as Professor Dorf points out, whether these measures are symbolic or not hinges on whether a federal mandate is Constitutional, something about which Heritage has serious doubts. Regardless of whether these measures turn out to have teeth or not, they are yet another sign of the anger many Americans have towards Obamacare. A sign that the President and Congressional leaders would be wise not to ignore.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Outside the Beltway: States Consider Prohibiting the Individual Mandate

    1. Dennis Social Circle says:

      I have the right to decide if I want insurance, the "guvernmnet" does not have the right to force me to purchase it. If I get sick I have to pay the bill, not someone else. That is what is wrong now, people do not care about themselves, they want the "guvernment" to make all the decisions, and pay all the bills. I understand that people acn loose jobs and benefits, these people need help, many are not looking for a handout, many are. Those that are looking for the handout need to go to work, help themselves then look for help from others. I am sick and tired of working my life away so others can have free what ever, they do not want to do anything but take, not give back.We even have a free cell phone for those that can not afford it, I did not see or hear obama nor any others say anything about stopping this program. Where does the constitution mandate that people have the right to cell phones at others expense?????? Where does the constitution say that I have to purchase health insurance that is supported by tax payers money????? IT DOES NOT!!!!!

    2. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      I am not a lawyer, nor did I even take any law or Constitution classes in college as I was busy pursuing an engineering degree. However, I can and have read the text of the Constitution numerous times, and I fail to see even an allusion to an individual healthcare mandate. In fact, there is very little if anything in any of the recently proposed Senate or House healthcare bills that passes the Constitutional test. I welcome and challenge anyone to point to the explicit Constitutional clause whereby the federal government has the right to do what they are trying to do with healthcare, and please spare me the "penumbras formed by emanations" argument.

    3. Norma in Nebraska says:

      As Americans we have been hoping that our President and our federal government officials would finally "get it" and listen to what we are trying to tell them. With the election in Massachusetts, we felt confident that FINALLY the message would get through: we WANT less government interference in our lives, we WANT less reckless spending, we DON'T want more stimulus programs, we DON'T want health care reform per the House or the Senate, we DON'T want cap and trade and the list goes on.

      Finally the realization is dawning on America that President Obama as well as the House and the Senate Democrats, and some Republicans as well, do NOT care what we want . . . they are going to do what they want regardless of our wishes because they think they can. So our only alternative is to "clean house" in November and take back to power we gave them in the first place.

      The next election could be a political earthquake felt from coast to coast. Take your obligation to participate in our future seriously, educate yourself on the issues and the candidates and VOTE in November!

    4. Neill Binford, Blanc says:

      These challenges from the Virginia Senate and other legislatures are very good news. The Constitutional showdown between the rights of states and the limited authority of the Congress and President must be taken to the Supreme Court as soon and as often as necessary. If the current Court cannot "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States", these issues may have to be resolved by THE PEOPLE of States by calling "a Convention for proposing Amendments" or reinforcing the Tenth Amendment.

      If the Supreme Court fails to reestablish the People's Constitutional contract, it may become necessary to 'reuse' the statements of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson made it clear that the unalienable Rights of the People are the basis of our contract with our government. When the agreement is unilaterally altered a correction is required or the contract becomes null and void.

    5. Drew Page, IL says:

      I am delighted by the action taken by the State of Virginia. I sincerely hope the other states will follow suit.

      I disagree with Cornell University law professor, Michael Dorf, when he says that he believes a federal mandate forcing citizens to buy insurance would be Constitutional. I believe the Supreme Court would strike down such a mandate as un-Constitutional.

      Next, Congress will be trying to tell us that we have to buy a car from GM or Chrysler, whether we want to or not.

    6. Louis C F Levy Houst says:

      It might be a good time to Re-call the necessity of a wake-Up for all, because the aim of the "mandates suggestionners", not our politicians, is to destroy this country.

      Lets understand it all.

    7. Jill, California says:

      The states may have ulterior motives. Check out the article below.


      The first paragraph reads, "The California Senate approved creating a government-run health care system for the nation's most populous state on Thursday, ignoring a veto threat from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger."

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    9. Pingback: Riders on the storm

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