Arizona Voters Reject Health care Mandates
November 2nd was set to be an important day for Arizona voters, and they spoke loud and clear when they rejected healthcare mandates by passing Proposition 106. This amends the Arizona Constitution to protect the “right of Arizonans not to participate in any health care system or plan.” It will also protect Arizonan’s “right to spend their own money for health care services in Arizona.”
Prop 106 was the result of the Arizona legislature passing House Concurrent Resolution 2014 (HCR2014) in mid 2009, and comes on the heels of the state recently rejecting other major federal laws – nullifying the Real ID Act of 2005, and passing the Firearms Freedom Act to nullify some federal gun laws and regulations.
HCR2014 has as its basis the following 4 main provisions:
1. Prohibits any law or rule from directly or indirectly compelling any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system.
2. Allows a person or employer to pay directly for lawful health care services without paying penalties or fines.
3. Permits a health care provider to accept direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services without paying penalties or fines.
4. Asserts that, subject to reasonable and necessary rules that do not substantially limit a person’s options, the purchase or sale of private health insurance shall not be prohibited.
The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution codifies in law that the federal government is one of limited, delegated powers – and that all powers not enumerated in the Constitution are reserved “to the States, respectively, or to the People.” The founders, during the time of the Constitution’s ratification, made clear that a vast majority of regulatory powers would be left in the states – including social services, agriculture, mining, and more. Click here to read more. Passage of Proposition 106 follows with the founders design – that such decisions over health care would be handled on a state level, as the people determine.
Arizona voters have joined with voters in Oklahoma, who also passed a health care freedom act today, to become the 6th and 7th states to pass similar legislation or state constitutional amendments. They join Virginia, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri and Utah. And, more than 2 dozen other states are considering similar legislation or state constitutional amendments to do the same. Passage of such bills have raised the question of federal vs state supremacy under the constitution. To resolve this issue, many legislators and governors are supporting lawsuits to affirm the principles of the state laws. But some constitutional scholars, including famed legal theorist Randy Barnett, have indicated that decades of precedent from the supreme court makes such legal challenges difficult, at best.
But that doesn’t mean that the court is right. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798, warned us that if the federal government ever were to become the sole and final arbiter of the extent of its own powers, those powers would never remain limited – thus, the reason they advocated for nullification and interposition in those resolutions.
The essential question, then, remains: Will Arizonans stand up for their rights, will they stand behind their decision in support of the Health Care Freedom Act…whether the federal government gives them approval to or not?
Oklahoma Voters Reject Health Care Mandates
Voters in Oklahoma today decided that they don’t want a law to require them to buy health insurance, as they voted to approve State Question 756 by a wide margin (64% in favor at the time of this writing). The question was the result of the Oklahoma legislature passing Senate Joint Resolution 59 (SJR59) this year.
The legislation states that “A law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system” – in an attempt to nullify health insurance mandates within the state. It previously passed the State Senate by a vote of 30-13 and the State House by a vote of 88-9.
The House had waited to act on the resolution as the legislature attempted to override a veto of similar legislation that would’ve enacted the Health Care Freedom Act via statute. But, after the veto override failed, the House took action on SJR59. Because it is a referendum question, the decision bypassed Governor Henry and went directly to the people on the November 2nd state ballot.
State Senator Randy Brogdon, in a statement about the Oklahoma Health Care Freedom Act, said:
“This legislation does three things. It would prevent the federal government from forcing any Oklahoman to participate in any health care system. It would also prohibit the federal government from dictating how doctors choose to care for their patients. Finally, the measure authorizes the leaders of the Legislature to hire outside council to represent Oklahoma in a lawsuit to prevent Obamacare from being forced on our state.”
Similar legislation has already passed as law in Virginia, Utah, Missouri, Idaho and Louisiana. Voters in Arizona and Colorado are also deciding on similar state constitutional amendments to reject health care mandates today.
The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned. Implied in such legislation is that the state apparatus will enforce the act against all violations – in order to protect the liberty of the state’s citizens.
Already 25 states have passed laws and resolutions to effectively nullify the 2005 Real ID act, and 14 states are actively nullifying federal laws on medical marijuana.
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