Virginia Nullifies Individual Mandate

The state assembly in Virginia voted Thursday to nullify any health-insurance individual mandate that may be included in a health-care “reform” bill to be passed in the future by the U.S. Congress. Nullification means that the state will reject the law, meaning in theory that Virginia residents will not be required to purchase or be fined/taxed/penalized if they do not purchase health insurance under such a reform plan.

Similar bills have been introduced in several states across the country. The effort has been spearheaded in part by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which created a template bill called the “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.”

Nullification is tricky, however. The federal government doesn’t typically like the states challenging its authority (legitimate or not). Forget any notion of constitutional federalism; that went out years ago.

* Note: For more information on the individual mandate, consult my previous posts here, here and here.

4 Responses to Virginia Nullifies Individual Mandate

  1. Sheryl Young says:

    I wonder if states will be allowed to do this. The Supreme Court could say states aren’t free to do so, depending on how Obamacare is worded.

    • Adam Fowler says:

      Unfortunately, they may not be allowed to. Generally, constitutional case law has developed to where when the federal government regulates in an area, the states are often not allowed to contradict the federal regulation(s).

      However, the constitutionality of an individual mandate or the federal government regulating health insurance in general (since selling policies across state lines — which would be interstate commerce — is not part of the “reform”) is dubious at best. Although, constitutionality isn’t something most politicians these days seem to be really concerned about.

      I guess time will tell.

  2. Nullification is more than tricky. Congress uses the Commerce Clause as a blanket police power, enumerations be darned.

    But that is the point I think. The folks getting this stuff passed in state legislatures are drawing a line in the sand, to force the issue.

    The big question is, what happens when the rubber hits the road?

  3. […] Virginia Nullifies Individual Mandate […]

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