Archive for Sunday, September 13, 2009

State lawmakers trying to halt federal health care changes

September 13, 2009


— Republicans in more than a dozen states opposed to President Barack Obama’s push for health care overhaul have mounted state-driven efforts to block federal intervention in health care, with some early success.

The push-back centers in some areas on fact — Obama’s stated determination that all Americans should be required to get health care coverage, for example. Other resistance, though, is based on unfounded notions of what has been proposed — fears, for example, that the nation would adopt a single-payer system in which the government would take over health care, something Obama specifically disavowed on Wednesday.

Even if state lawmakers succeed, doubts remain over whether their proposals would take effect if a federal overhaul were passed. Experts say federal law likely would trump such state changes.

“My sense is that if they pass a comprehensive reform bill, it would probably pre-empt what the state is doing,” said Paul Bender, a professor at Arizona State University’s law school and an expert in constitutional law.

Lawmakers in eight states, only half of which are controlled entirely by Republicans, have filed proposals this year to ask voters to amend state constitutions to prohibit what they bill as restrictions on a person’s freedom to choose a private health care plan, mandatory participation in any given plan and penalties for declining coverage. Similar measures were considered in two other states, though they wouldn’t have been decided by voters. And lawmakers in three other states say they plan to file similar ballot proposals in the coming months.

As far as ballot initiatives, Arizona is the only state so far to put the proposal on the 2010 ballot.

Health care proposals in other states have had less traction. A measure was voted down in the Republican-controlled legislatures in North Dakota and Wyoming, and no action has yet been taken on measures in Michigan and Minnesota. The proposal never made it out of its first committee before the Democratic-controlled New Mexico Legislature ended its last session.

A version of it was introduced in Ohio last month, and Florida lawmakers will consider it when they reconvene next spring.

Similar proposals were filed in two other states, neither of which gave voters the last word. Indiana’s Senate forwarded to Washington a nonbinding message urging protections of individual health care freedoms. A binding proposal in West Virginia didn’t clear its statehouse before its session concluded.

Lawmakers in Kansas, Louisiana and Georgia said they plan to file similar ballot proposals in the future.


davidsmom 8 years, 6 months ago

The Obama administration is trying to push through something that is much too important, much too complex, much to massive to be done right in such a short amount of time. That's one reason there is so much opposition to it - is isn't done right. It is not a well-thought-out plan. Health care reform is needed, but they need to take the time to get it right, whether that be another year, or two or three. Obama may have made this one of his campaign promises, but we cannot be concerned about whether or not he can fulfill one of his campaign promises - that's really not our problem.

Left_handed 8 years, 6 months ago

Amen. It seems curious to me that they are in such a toot to pass legislation that won't even go into effect until 2013. It's also curious that 2013 is the year after the next presidential election.

KS 8 years, 6 months ago

Left_handed - You are right on! They also want it done this year because there is a growing feeling that there may be some real changes in the House next year.

justthefacts 8 years, 6 months ago

It strikes me as odd how the very same people who think the federal government is too inept to handle anything like emergency responses to hurricanes and who happily recognize the many inherent flaws in fedral programs or agencies such as Social Security, the Postal system, and/or the Medicare/Medicade system, now think the same governmental system is more likely to succeed in running the nation's health care system. It makes up too much of our gross national product, and impacts far too many lives, to experiment with a system (like socialism) that has not been working well in other ways. I understand there are people who thru no fault of their own aren't getting the medical care that others get. But is the best answer really to let the federal government do whatever it wants with the system? Give us DETAILS and maybe we can decide if we trust them enough....

feeble 8 years, 6 months ago

Someone needs to let these state reps know that nullification went out the window in 1832 and six feet under ground in 1861.

Where were all these "too far, too fast" complaints when we passed USA PATRIOT act?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.