Virginia Bill May Prompt State-Federal Fight Over Insurance Mandate
A bill in the Virginia state legislature could upend a critical provision of the Democrats' health overhaul and open the door for a fresh battle over the federal government's power over states, The Boston Globe reports.
"The Virginia Legislature this week is poised to become the first state to pass legislation that says citizens cannot be required to have medical insurance." Virginia joins "dozens of other states" that have floated similar measures that would ban the implementation of a federal mandate that citizens buy insurance, a key tenet of the Democrats' overhaul plan. In Virginia, both chambers of the state legislature have passed versions of the bill, and final passage is expected. The bill's supporters say that requiring people to buy a product is an overreach of the federal government.
Meanwhile, "[o]pponents of the Virginia bill say it is reminiscent of the region's history of fighting the federal government, harking back to the 1950s when Virginia launched what is known as 'massive resistance' to federally ordered racial integration of schools." One critic said state's can't "just say, 'I won't do that.' That's for the courts to decide." Others say it is a form of taxation, which Congress has constitutional authority over, and that the states could not simply "opt out" (Kranish, 3/8).