Sunday, September 13, 2009

States Seek to Limit Federal Health Care Overhaul

State lawmakers in several states have sought to introduce measures to curtail federal health care reform, according to a report yesterday by the AP.  The effort has so far been most successful in Arizona, where a proposed state constitutional amendment will appear on the ballot in 2010.  The bill reads in relevant part:

A.  To preserve the freedom of Arizonans to provide for their health care:

1.  A law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system.

2.  A person or employer may pay directly for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for paying directly for lawful health care services.  A health care provider may accept direct payment for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services.

B.  Subject to reasonable and necessary rules that do not substantially limit a person's options, the purchase or sale of health insurance in private health care systems shall not be prohibited by law or rule.

This measure, and others like it, would certainly run up against federal preemption under any comprehensive federal reform bill.

On the flip side, protesters again suggested at Saturday's protest on the National Mall that federal health care reform would increase the size and scope of the federal government beyond what the founders intended.  But any federal reform measure currently in play would fit comfortably within Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause and the Court's "substantial effects" test--i.e., that Congress can regulate under the Commerce Clause anything that has a "substantial effect" upon interstate commerce.

Given the reality of federal supremacy, the expansive federal authority under the Commerce Clause, and a sprawling health care system that pervades the national economy (isn't that exactly the problem?),  the state efforts to limit federal health care reform and the arguments that federal health care reform exceed the federal government's powers have no real traction in our federal constitutional system.  But they seem to have garnered enough of a following to at least signal that some number think, on principle or merely because of politics, that the federal government has no business in health care reform.

SDS

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2009/09/states-seek-to-limit-federal-health-care-overhaul.html

Commerce Clause, Congressional Authority, Federalism, News, Preemption, Tenth Amendment | Permalink

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Comments

Wouldn’t a health insurance mandate or requirement that everyone buy health insurance, violate the commerce clause? Seeing as how you cant buy health insurance across state lines I don’t see any possible way how the purchase of health insurance would be interstate commerce. There are laws actually preventing this from being interstate commerce. Seems to me that the federal government cant require us to buy insurance unless they allow it to be purchased across state lines.

Posted by: Clark | Sep 16, 2009 7:51:02 AM

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