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Gov. Bob McDonnell signs Virginia Health Care Freedom Act

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act in a mid-afternoon ceremony yesterday in Richmond.

McDonnell, a Republican, was joined at the bill signing by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, State Sens. Steve Martin, Fred Quayle and Jill Vogel and Del. Bob Marshall, all Republicans.

We all agree that we must expand access to quality health care and reduce costs for all Virginians. However, that should not be accomplished through an unprecedented federal mandate on individuals that we believe violates the U.S. Constitution,” McDonnell said.

The bill sets as the policy of Virginia that no individual, with several specific exceptions, can be required to purchase health-insurance coverage.

Despite the absence of Democrats at the signing ceremony, McDonnell noted that the legislation passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support.

Cuccinelli, who has filed suit in federal court to block the application of health-care reform signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, used the occasion to defend his legal challenge.

“The traditional role of the attorney general is to defend Virginia’s laws. It is now my job to vigorously defend this law from the federal government’s overreach of the Constitution and its attempted encroachment on the rights of Virginians. That is my mandate, and that is my promise to our citizens,” Cuccinelli said.
 

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Did he say why he thinks the law is unconstitutional or why the state has a right to challenge the law?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The Act was passed with bipartisan support, in sharp contrast to the narrow straight line partisan vote that enacted the federal health care bill on Sunday night. Virginia’s Healthcare Freedom Act received the votes of leading Democratic Senators, as well as the Democratic House Minority Leader. It was an important step to sign this bipartisan legislation today.”
Making a statement from Washington DC, Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia said, “Governor McDonnell and the people of Virginia understand we need to repeal [the national healthcare bill] and replace it with a more incremental approach that focuses first and foremost on lowering costs, improving access to care, and providing affordable state-based health care options. At the same time, we need to prioritize job creation, help entrepreneurs, cut the deficit, and stop spending money we don’t have.”
^^ Could not agree more.
 

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Did he say why he thinks the law is unconstitutional or why the state has a right to challenge the law?
I'm guessing it's along the same lines as the other 13 states that filed a separate suit. They argue that it's a direct tax without apportionment and that the bill exceeds the limits of the 10th Amendment and the enumerated powers in Article I.

Complaint

Edit:

Scratch that, Virginia is apparently going with the Commerce Clause argument.
Virginia, 13 other states sue over health-care law | Richmond Times-Dispatch
 

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I'm guessing it's along the same lines as the other 13 states that filed a separate suit. They argue that it's a direct tax without apportionment and that the bill exceeds the limits of the 10th Amendment and the enumerated powers in Article I.

Complaint

Edit:

Scratch that, Virginia is apparently going with the Commerce Clause argument.
Virginia, 13 other states sue over health-care law | Richmond Times-Dispatch
What does that mean in English? [not trying to be funny, I am not a conlaw expert]. I think these constitutional challenges are all doomed to fail. They are political maneuvers by governors or state atty generals trying to make a name for themselves or get elected to a higher office.

I guess I don't see how the tax is any different than other taxes you pay. For example:

- If you choose not to buy health insurance, you pay more in taxes than someone similarly situated who chooses to buy health insurance
- If you rent or if you own your home free and clear, you pay more in taxes than someone similarly situated who owns their home subject to a mortgage
- If you have no dependent children, you pay more in taxes than someone similarly situated who has minor children
 

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I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on t.v. so I could be way off base here ....how is this any different then making us have auto insurance? We must show proof of insurance at the DMV when we license our cars. I guess we could choose not to drive but still it kinda of seems like the same thing to me.
 

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I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on t.v. so I could be way off base here ....how is this any different then making us have auto insurance? We must show proof of insurance at the DMV when we license our cars. I guess we could choose not to drive but still it kinda of seems like the same thing to me.
I think that is the difference, you can choose not to drive a car.
 

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I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on t.v. so I could be way off base here ....how is this any different then making us have auto insurance? We must show proof of insurance at the DMV when we license our cars. I guess we could choose not to drive but still it kinda of seems like the same thing to me.
Because you can choose not to own a car.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Did he say why it is unconstitutional?
From Nick's post...

Virginia is challenging the constitutionality of the new law, primarily based on the argument that the "commerce clause" of the U.S. Constitution cannot be used by Congress to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"It has never been held that the 'commerce clause,' even when aided by the 'necessary and proper clause,' can be used to require citizens to buy goods and services," Cuccinelli asserts in the seven-page complaint.

The federal law is unconstitutional because "the individual mandate exceeds the enumerated powers conferred upon Congress," the complaint states. "Because the individual mandate is an essential, nonseverable provision, the entire act is likewise invalid."
 

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What does that mean in English? [not trying to be funny, I am not a conlaw expert]. I think these constitutional challenges are all doomed to fail. They are political maneuvers by governors or state atty generals trying to make a name for themselves or get elected to a higher office.

I guess I don't see how the tax is any different than other taxes you pay. For example:

- If you choose not to buy health insurance, you pay more in taxes than someone similarly situated who chooses to buy health insurance
- If you rent or if you own your home free and clear, you pay more in taxes than someone similarly situated who owns their home subject to a mortgage
- If you have no dependent children, you pay more in taxes than someone similarly situated who has minor children
Well, I'm not an expert either, and to be honest, I haven't followed the tax issue. From everything I've read (conservative and liberal), most think this is by far the weakest challenge. The basics of the argument are that the penalty for not buying insurance is a head tax, you have to pay it by virtue of being alive since it's not based on buying something, earning income, or some other voluntary choice.

The other argument attacks the actual mandate to buy insurance. The argument is that the commerce clause doesn't allow the federal government to regulate the non-purchase of something. If you're not buying something, that by definition is not commerce. From what I've read, even those that do think this is true agree that the chances of success in the courts is not great. Under current Supreme Court case law, it arguably does fall under the commerce clause. They have to convince them that the current interpretation is too broad, and then to strike down the mandate provisions. If I recall correctly from my con law classes in law school, I don't think that kind of action has been taken since the 1930s.
 

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Does this mean I can drop the medical coverage I have in my car and home insurance policies?
There is no law that requires you to purchase either a car or a home. If you do choose to buy a car then the state will generally require you to have liability insurance. For your home the mortgage company will require insurance. That is a big difference.
 

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There is no law that requires you to purchase either a car or a home. If you do choose to buy a car then the state will generally require you to have liability insurance. For your home the mortgage company will require insurance. That is a big difference.
True.
 

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Well, I'm not an expert either, and to be honest, I haven't followed the tax issue. From everything I've read (conservative and liberal), most think this is by far the weakest challenge. The basics of the argument are that the penalty for not buying insurance is a head tax, you have to pay it by virtue of being alive since it's not based on buying something, earning income, or some other voluntary choice.

The other argument attacks the actual mandate to buy insurance. The argument is that the commerce clause doesn't allow the federal government to regulate the non-purchase of something. If you're not buying something, that by definition is not commerce. From what I've read, even those that do think this is true agree that the chances of success in the courts is not great. Under current Supreme Court case law, it arguably does fall under the commerce clause. They have to convince them that the current interpretation is too broad, and then to strike down the mandate provisions. If I recall correctly from my con law classes in law school, I don't think that kind of action has been taken since the 1930s.
thanks for the info. The individual taxpayer is the "injured party" here. How does a state have standing to file suit?
 

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There is no law that requires you to purchase either a car or a home. If you do choose to buy a car then the state will generally require you to have liability insurance. For your home the mortgage company will require insurance. That is a big difference.
Both home and car insurance include some sort of medical insurance. If a person is required to have medical insurance, and medical insurance will no longer have lifetime maximums won't that negate the need for additional medical insurance through home/car insurance?
 

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I'm sure it will still be required. If you hit someone who HAS health insurance, your car insurance still has to pay for them because it was YOUR fault. Just because they have insurance, it's not their policy's responsibility to pay. These are all still private medical insurance policies we're talking about, so the fact that my health insurance won't have to pay if you crash into me with your car and break my leg isn't going to change.

We're talking about different things here. The medical/liability insurance on your car/homeowners policies are entirely different things.
 
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