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NYT Says Anti-Mandate Laws Are Doomed

From an annoyed New York Times:

“All I’m trying to do is protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions,” said State Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota. “I just don’t want the government getting between my decisions with my doctors.”

In Some States, a Push to Ban Mandate on Insurance

By MONICA DAVEY

September 29, 2009

ST. PAUL — In more than a dozen statehouses across the country, a small but growing group of lawmakers is pressing for state constitutional amendments that would outlaw a crucial element of the health care plans under discussion in Washington: the requirement that nearly everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty.

Approval of the measures, the lawmakers suggest, would set off a legal battle over the rights of states versus the reach of federal power — an issue that is, for some, central to the current health care debate but also one that has tentacles stretching into many other matters, including education and drug policy.

Opponents of the measures and some constitutional scholars say the proposals are mostly symbolic, intended to send a message of political protest, and have little chance of succeeding in court over the long run. But they acknowledge that the measures could create legal collisions that would be both expensive and cause delays to health care changes, and could be a rallying point for opponents in the increasingly tense debate.

“This does head us for a legal showdown,” said Christie Herrera, an official at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group in Washington that advocates limited government and free markets, and that earlier this month offered guidance to lawmakers in more than a dozen states in a conference call on the state amendments.

So far, the notion has been presented in at least 10 states (though it has already been rejected or left behind in committees in some of them), and lawmakers in four other states have said they will soon offer similar measures in what has grown into a coordinated effort at resistance. (Arizona, which has placed the amendment on its ballot in 2010, seems the furthest along.)

In Arizona, with help from Dr. Eric Novack — an orthopedic surgeon who says his intent was not “some grand secessionist plot” but merely a health care overhaul with protections for individuals’ rights — an amendment first went before voters in 2008. It was defeated, but by fewer than 9,000 votes among more than two million cast.

This year, Arizona’s Legislature, controlled by Republicans in both chambers, voted to put the question back on the ballot in 2010.

Few in the public seemed focused on health care a year ago, those involved in Arizona’s ballot question said, but the recent debate over a federal overhaul has changed all that, and proponents of the amendment believe that will improve its chances both in Arizona and in other states, where similar efforts have taken root…

Although the United States Constitution’s supremacy clause ordinarily allows federal law to, in essence, trump a state law that conflicts with it, Mr. Bolick said that was not always the case, depending on “the strength of the state interest.”

But several other legal experts said they saw little room for such a challenge. “States can no more nullify a federal law like this than they could nullify the civil rights laws by adopting constitutional amendments,” said Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, a health law expert at Washington & Lee University School of Law.

Mark A. Hall, a law professor at Wake Forest University who has studied the constitutionality of mandates that people buy health insurance, said, “There is no way this challenge will succeed in court,” adding that the state measures seemed more “sort of an act of defiance, a form of civil disobedience if you will.”

Notice that the real point of this New York Times article is that any efforts to try to block mandatory healthcare is doomed from the start.

The states will be forced to play along if the want their share of the federal funds. And the Supreme Court will strike these state laws, anyway.

But we thought the New York Times celebrated long drawn out meaningless legal battles and other such forms of civil disobedience?

Guess that is only when it is done in the name of one of their causes, such as homosexual rights.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 29th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

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