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State efforts underway to lift health insurance mandate

Some states are discussing litigation to fight the federal health insurance mandate that is a part of both the House and Senate reform proposals

While the House and Senate have different healthcare reform bills, there’s one thing they have in common: a mandate that all Americans buy health insurance.

But, the Associated Press reports this week, there is state-level backlash against that proposal. Thirty-four states have proposals in place that would reject the health insurance mandate, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

“These [state] amendments are a way to manifest grassroots opposition,” Goldwater Institute constitutional litigation director Clint Bolick was quoted as saying.

And the opposition’s confidence was sparked by Scott Brown’s surprise win in Massachusetts. The Republican’s election to Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat has been interpreted by some as a sign that Americans are wary of the healthcare reform bills and want lawmakers to slow down.

Changes to state constitutions to ban the mandate aren’t likely to accomplish anything, though. Cornell University constitutional law professor Michael Dorf said to the Associated Press that the supremacy clause gives priority to federal laws over state ones.

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Posted: February 1, 2010

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