34 States Move to Ban Health Care MandatesSubmitted by SteveMT on Mon, 02/01/2010 - 14:51
States Try To Ban Health Insurance Mandate
34 States File, Propose Amendments Rejecting Mandates
DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press Writer
POSTED: Monday, February 1, 2010
UPDATED: 8:41 am EST February 1, 2010
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Although President Barack Obama's push for a health care overhaul has stalled, conservative lawmakers in about half the states are forging ahead with constitutional amendments to ban government health insurance mandates.
The proposals would assert a state-based right for people to pay medical bills from their own pocketbooks and prohibit penalties against those who refuse to carry health insurance.
In many states, the proposals began as a backlash to Democratic health care plans pending in Congress. But instead of backing away after a Massachusetts election gave Senate Republicans the filibuster power to halt the health care legislation, many state lawmakers are ramping up their efforts with new enthusiasm.
The moves reflect the continued political potency of the issue for conservatives, who have used it extensively for fundraising and attracting new supporters. The legal impact of any state measures may be questionable because courts generally have held that federal laws trump those in states.
Lawmakers in 34 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.
Pennsylvania Legislators Stand for Health Care Freedom
January 26, 201
Pennsylvania joins 31 other states where legislators have introduced, or will introduce, legislation modeled after ALEC’s Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. Under the legislation, any state attempt to require an individual to purchase health insurance—or forbid an individual from purchasing services outside of the required health care system—would be rendered unconstitutional. The measure may also cause a federalism clash if Congress passes a law with either of these provisions.
The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act has already been filed or prefiled in 25 states—Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Lawmakers in an additional 7 states—Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Utah—have publicly announced their intentions to file the legislation. A citizen 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.