Efforts are afoot in more than a dozen states to outlaw mandatory health insurance, a preemptive strike against federal health reform that, though mainly symbolic and constitutionally dubious, could provoke a court battle that would be costly and delay any plan passed by Congress. “I just don’t want the government getting between my decisions with my doctors,” a Republican behind the movement in Minnesota tells the New York Times.
“States can no more nullify a federal law like this than they could nullify the civil rights laws by adopting constitutional amendments,” one professor says of the efforts. While the push began in some states after Massachusetts made health insurance mandatory in 2006, the current debate has added a spark. “Tell me where in the US Constitution it says the federal government has the right to provide health care?” says the Minnesota Republican. “This is the essence of the debate.”