Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to sign a bill into law Wednesday that protects Virginians from being forced to purchase individual health insurance coverage.
The bill, which has already passed the Virginia General Assembly, was first introduced by Del. Bob Marshall of Virginia’s 13th District. It passed both the House of Delegates and the Senate on March 10.
The bill states that no Virginia resident, regardless of eligibility for health insurance coverage, “shall be required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual insurance coverage.” The bill adds that no state resident shall be subject to a penalty for failing to obtain health insurance coverage.
Del. Marshall said the bill’s purpose is to provide the residents of Virginia protection against the federal powers, should they resist the individual health insurance mandate of President Obama’s health care plan.
“When and if an individual does not want to buy ‘Obamacare’—and this doesn’t block anybody who wants their high-cost program—basically, it authorizes the state of Virginia to intervene to defend me, so it’s not me versus, you know, 16,000 IRS agents,” the delegate told HUMAN EVENTS.
Marshall called the Congressional health insurance mandate an “unconstitutional, unauthorized usurpation of power.”
Gov. McDonnell, who is also skeptical of the health care legislation, believes that no one may force Virginians to buy health insurance.
“The pleadings say we don’t believe the federal government has the right to tell the citizens of Virginia that they must purchase a good or a service, in this case, health insurance, particularly when we have a statute that we just past that you cannot mandate that,” the governor said.
80 members of the House of Delegates voted for HB 10 on its last passage, including 55% of the Democrats in the House and a majority of the Black Caucus. “This is not by any means some right-wing cabal that’s being hatched in some beaver swamp,” noted Marshall. “Broad support for this,” he said.
Almost 40 states have proposed measures challenging the constitutionality of the health care bill, but just two—Virginia and Idaho—have bills designed to “set up a legal confrontation,” Marshall noted.
12 state attorneys general have filed lawsuits against the health care bill on the grounds that the health insurance mandate is unconstitutional. Formal resolutions or bills have been filed in 36 states challenging the federal or state actions on the matter, including single-payer provisions and any mandates for individuals to purchase health insurance.
The state of Idaho passed a law which states “that every person within the state of Idaho is and shall be free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty.”
The state of Arizona’s resolution concerning the health insurance mandate passed both legislative chambers, and awaits a statewide ballot vote this fall. If passed, it would amend the State Constitution to rule that, among other things, a person or employer may not be compelled to participate in a health care system.