States pushing back against ObamaCare mandates

The Associated Press reports that states all across the country are pushing back against healthcare “reform,” specifically in response to the possibility that their residents and businesses could be forced into buying health insurance by the federal government (via MM):

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter on Wednesday became the first state chief executive to sign a measure requiring his attorney general to sue Congress if it passes health reforms that force residents to buy insurance. Similar legislation is pending in 37 other states nationwide.

Constitutional law experts say the move is mostly symbolic because federal laws supersede those of the states. But the movement reflects a growing national frustration with President President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Democrats are hoping to pass a version of the reform by this weekend.

Last week, Virginia legislators passed a measure similar to Idaho’s new law, but Otter was the first state chief executive to sign such a bill, according the American Legislative Exchange Council, which created model legislation for Idaho and other states. The Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit group promotes limited government.

“Congress is planning to force an unconstitutional mandate on the states,” said Herrera, the group’s health task force director.

Otter, a Republican, already warned U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in December that Idaho was considering litigation if health reform went through. He signed the bill during his first such public ceremony of the 2010 Legislature.

“What the Idaho Health Freedom Act says is that the citizens of our state won’t be subject to another federal mandate or turn over another part of their life to government control,” Otter said.

These types of bills may be more symbolic in nature than anything else, but they send a powerful message to the Obamacrats in Washington, DC on behalf of the people who live in those states that health insurance mandates and fines are not welcomed:

These state laws would directly conflict with the national health care bill that Democrats are trying to pass, which includes a requirement that all individuals get health coverage or face a tax penalty.

Several legal analysts said if Congress enacts a national health care law, it would supersede any state laws written to block them.

“I think most of the states that are passing these laws understand that they can’t trump federal law with state law,” said Professor Jonathan Siegel at George Washington University Law School. “But what they get out of it is symbolic effect. They’re sending a message to the federal politicians that they don’t like the health care mandate.”

Such state laws might not be the only legal challenge to Democratic health care legislation.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican, on Tuesday sent a letter to the other 49 state attorneys general, asking them to join him “in preparing a legal challenge to the constitutionality of whatever individual mandate provision emerges, immediately upon the legislation becoming law.”

To view the bill signed into law by Otter, click here. The Virginia bill is here.

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