Human Exceptionalism

Obamacare: Idaho Law Now Requires the Attorney General to Sue

Obamacare would require each and every one of us buy private health insurance unless we are covered by our employers. That sure seems unconstitutional to me.  While the Feds certainly have the power to regulate commerce among the states, I don’t think they have the power to require it.

Laws with suspect provisions generally result in litigation.  (We lawyers always win.)  Such a legal challenge is now certain if Obamacare passes.  Idaho just enacted a law requiring its attorney general to sue to invalidate the must-purchase provision.  If that happens, Obamacare collapses of its own weight.  From the story:

Idaho took the lead in a growing, nationwide fight against health care overhaul Wednesday when its governor became the first to sign a measure requiring the state attorney general to sue the federal government if residents are forced to buy health insurance. Similar legislation is pending in 37 other states.

Constitutional law experts say the movement is mostly symbolic because federal laws supersede those of the states. But the state measures reflect a growing frustration with President President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul…Democratic leaders hope to vote on it this weekend. With Washington closing in on a deal in the months-long battle over health care overhaul, Republican state lawmakers opposed to the measure are stepping up opposition. Otter, a Republican, said he believes any future lawsuit from Idaho has a legitimate shot of winning, despite what the naysayers say. “The ivory tower folks will tell you, ‘No, they’re not going anywhere,’ ” he told reporters. “But I’ll tell you what, you get 36 states, that’s a critical mass. That’s a constitutional mass.”

Sometimes federal law supersedes state law, but not if it is unconstitutional.  And Gov. Otter is right: If most of the states sue to kill this bill–and the Virginia Legislature has passed a similar measure already–I believe it will ultimately kill the bill even if it is enacted.

What a debacle.  If the bill passes, the public fury will grow more intense, not go away as Pelosi/Obama/Reid hope.  Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.  All of us would be better off if they put Obamacare aside and tried a more balanced approach to needed health care reform.