Home Virginia Politics McDonnell: Virginia Government Can Force People to Buy Health Insurance

McDonnell: Virginia Government Can Force People to Buy Health Insurance


So, let’s get this straight now. If the Federal government “mandates” (actually, provides incentives and disincentives to) people to purchase health insurance coverage, that’s evil incarnate and must be fought to protect “states’ rights” under the 10th Amendment. But if the Virginia state government “mandates” individuals to purchases health insurance coverage, that’s perfectly fine. In other words, it’s not the principle of the government forcing and/or strongly incentivizing people to have health insurance, it’s who does it — the federal government (bad) or the state government (good). What possible theory is behind this, other than the fact that Bob McDonnell happens to be governor of Virginia and not (thank god) president of the United States, is impossible to tell. Perhaps this is something Bob McDonnell was taught at Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) University?

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    I guess they don’t teach the history of constitutional law and precedents at that CBN school. When Social Security was first passed, in 1935, the same arguments that McDonnell and Crazy Cooch are making now were tested in court then.

    I believe that the Supreme Court upheld Social Security under the Constitution’s general welfare clause and the ability of the federal government to mandate taxes.

    These bozos keep saying that the federal government is forcing people to buy an insurance product, i.e., to participate in commerce. They are not. They are doing exactly what Virginia does with car insurance, where we either have car insurance or pay an “uninsured motorist tax.” Under the new health law a person has a choice: either buy some sort of health insurance (of your choice, by the way) or pay a tax in order to offset the cost of treating illness for those without insurance. Clear choice: have insurance or pay a tax. It’s NOT a penalty. It is an “uninsured health tax.”

  • Teddy Goodson

    Here again the media and even the Democrats have let the Republicans get away with framing the question of health care on their terms, and we are therefore at an immediate disadvantage in discussions when we let them get away with yammering on and on within their frame.

    The health care reform nowhere has a mandate. It is a choice: buy your own private health care coverage (it’s not really “insurance”) from a  private company OR pay an “uninsured fee” (not a tax). Just like car insurance, as you say.

    If anything, the so-called reform is a godsend for private insurance companies, handing them perhaps as many as 30 million new captive customers, who either pay the insurance companies’ premiums, or pay a fee to the government which turns around and probably pays the insurance companies for coverage of the uninsured pool. What’s not to like about this bonanza, from the insurance companies’ point of view? Hooray for big business!

    Someday soon, I expect to hear the Republicans back off a little from McDonnell’s kind of rhetoric (not, probably, before the elections, as health insurance is too good a campaign issue) once Republicans hear from the insurance companies, they’ll cool their jets about fully repealing the health care bill.

  • Dan Sullivan

    not his opinion. The media is twisting his words.

  • Glen Tomkins

    The Commonwealth chose to sue over the individual mandate based on a 10th Amendment theory, that it has a law on the books, passed by the General Assembly a few days before the federal health care reform law, forbidding the federal law’s individual mandate.

    But the 10th is about powers reserved to the states, that the federal government is denied by reason of their being reserved to the states.  It has nothing to do with individual rights.  (Yes, there is verbiage about “powers” reserved to the people, which must be different from the reserved rights of the 9th, so we’re presumably talking about a whole different critter than individual rights.)The Commonwealth can only interpose to block the federal govt from exercising powers that it claims for itself.  The Commonwealth has to claim that it has the power to impose such a mandate, if it is to block the federal govt from exercising it.

    Of course there is the conventional matter of the question of individual rights to not have any govt impose a mandate.  But that would be a 9th Amendment question, in which the Commonwealth has no interest, and should have no standing to sue over.  And then there are the numerous features of the new federal health care reform bill that actually do affect the Commonwealth, issues such as the unfunded mandate on state govts contained in the requirement that they set up statewide health care insurance exchanges.

    Other states are suing over these issues in which the states actually have an interest.  Individuals are planning to sue over the individual mandate.  Only the Commonwealth is suing to vindicate Virginia’s sole right to “oppress” Virginians with an individual mandate.

    No, I’m not accusing Cuccinelli and McDonell of harboring some secret desire to impose such a mandate.  They could care less about health care.  They went out on this strange limb because they see it as a way to give their Federalist Society and fellow Bible College Law School graduates on the federal bench an opportunity to get a 10th Amendment claim recognized in federal law.  They want to make state nullification as legal as church on Sunday.