States Continue Push Back Against Mandates In Stalled Health Bills
Conservative lawmakers in 34 states "are forging ahead with constitutional amendments to ban government health insurance mandates" despite the idling health reform measures in Congress, The Associated Press reports. "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." The legality of such legislation is being questioned, however, as "courts generally have held that federal laws trump those in states." Bills in Congress would impose penalties on those who don't purchase health insurance except in cases of financial hardship. Under the legislation, "(s)ubsidies would be provided to low-income and middle-income households" (Lieb, 2/1).
The (Washington) Examiner reports that in Virginia such proposals - "which have advanced in committee or subcommittee in both the Virginia House and Senate - look to exempt Virginia from Congress' health care initiatives. While the measures may end up being more symbolic than substantive, they have gained wide notice as Republican lawmakers seek to harness unrest over an expanded federal role in medical care" (Flook, 2/1).