Yesterday the U.S. Constitution and federalism won a key battle. The Virginia Senate, which has a Democrat Majority, passed a bill prohibiting a requirement for Virginians to purchase health-care insurance. Five Democrats from swing districts joined all of the Senate Republicans in voting in favor of the measure. And with a Republican State House and Governor, this bill is expected to make it into law.
Some would argue that the legislative implications are negligible as the federal government, if it wants, can override state law and that an individual mandate could be authored in such a way to not run afoul of this Virginian measure. However, the practical implications of this effort are widespread. What are these?
The Constitution is Back in Vogue. Many of the elite politicians and media insiders ridicule anybody who questions health care federalism and the Constitution. The liberal leaders in Congress could not believe that the American people would value our nation’s Founding principles over their precious health care reforms. However, the fact of the matter is that these are serious issues that deserve deep thought and discussion.
Obamacare Setback. Passage of the Virginia measure will further stymie efforts in the House and Senate to get Obamacare to the President’s desk. Even if the federal government can supersede State authority, members from those states that pass these initiatives will have a hard time voting for something that is clearly against the will of their constituencies. For example Sens. Jim Webb (D-VA) and John Warner (D-VA) in particular will now have to justify why they have not considered the expressed will of the elected legislators from Virginia.
States Fighting Back. With the health care debate in limbo, news outlets are highlighting state efforts to protect their residents from federal Government intrusion. In addition to Virginia, over 2/3rd’s of the States have introduced measures to stop individual mandates on health care. Many State Attorney Generals have threatened to sue if current federal reform proposals are passed into law. State legislators across the country are considering various bills that would allow their state to opt out of key provisions of Obamacare or provide state voters a chance at the ballot box to reject nationalized health care in their state.
Regardless of legislative components of the Virginia action yesterday, Conservatives should cheer the resurgence of federalism and what it means for reigning in the rapidly increasing federal government. With most states starting their legislative sessions, this may be just the beginning of what could be the “Year for State Sovereignty.”