March 24th, 2010
09:01 AM ET
3 years ago

Virginia governor to sign law firing back at health care bill

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will sign legislation Wednesday to outlaw the federal government from forcing Virginia residents to buy health insurance.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will sign legislation Wednesday to outlaw the federal government from forcing Virginia residents to buy health insurance.

(CNN) - A day after President Obama signed the health care reform bill, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will put his signature Wednesday on legislation to outlaw the federal government from forcing state residents to purchase health insurance.

The Virginia measure, passed by the state's general assembly last month, directly conflicts with the new federal mandates that all Americans purchase some form of health insurance starting in 2014.

In an effort to sustain the Virginia law, the state's attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal district court in Richmond arguing the federal insurance law is an unconstitutional overreach of Congressional power.

While proponents of the measure argue that Congress acted within its authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause provision, Cuccinelli's complaint says the U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled that the clause allows Congress to require citizens to purchase a good or service like health insurance.

Cuccinelli's complaint also argues that the Virginia law McDonnell is signing Wednesday trumps the federal law because it is a matter assigned to the states under the Constitution's 10th Amendment. That amendment says that all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government remain with the states.

Idaho has enacted a similar law outlawing individual mandates, and more than a dozen other state attorneys general - led by Florida's Bill McCollum - filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Health care • Popular Posts • Virginia
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. Gertie

    Do you have any idea just how much money will be wasted on all this legal manuvering? Great job Republicans...the lawyers are making out like bandits! What a wonderful use of tax-payer money. These legal challenges will definitely improve the lives of all Americans (not).

    March 24, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. John A. Worth

    So so sick of obstructionist Republicans. Ugly losers. Leave our rights alone..... Get your heads out of your rear ends and DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE for once. We are so tired of this childish behavior.

    March 24, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. well thats pretty cool

    Well at least Obama, more so than any recent president, has gotten this county off their butts and involved in the political process. I mean when was the last time we've ever seen people talk and get this much involved before. Go USA, just make sure people remain civil, it's cool to debate but don't force people to believe something they don't want to. Way to be vocal america. By the way i'm in support of this action taken by Obama.

    March 24, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. BILL, WI

    What this article forgot to include was that an individual who does not purchase health insurance can be fined or JAILED. On Nov. 10, 2009 at at a news conference at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Pelosi outlined her rational as to why someone could be jailed for not having health insurance.

    March 24, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. j

    Federal law supersedes state law so it's a waste of taxpayers money. Instead of going through all these fruitless power plays, the Conservatives would be better off getting their act together and looking for ways to help the country come through the current financial crisis, which the Republicans created.

    March 24, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. T'SAH from Virginia

    For the FIRST time in my life – I AM NOT proud to be a Virginian!!! Actually, New York is my native and I still love NY!!! (Haters – if you tell me to move back to NY – that is not going to solve the problem)

    I tried – with all my might – to get people out to vote because I saw this coming. Not only concerning this Health Care Reform Bill – but in everything else that's going on.

    Our county had additional cuts in the SCHOOL BUDGET – $3.4 million on top of the $40 million deficit we were already had – so the money can go to NORTHERN VA. The new so-called law that allows employees to be fired IF they openly say they are GAY – Oh yeah, McDonnell tried to COVER THAT ONE up with a statement.

    Did McDonnell – and his sidekicks Can'tor and COOCHIEnellin, ask the citizens of VA as to whether or not they AGREE with this LAWSUIT???

    That's okay – because it's about COFFEE – not tea – YOU and ME!!! The Obstructionists are in for a RUDE AWAKENING!!

    March 24, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. Laura MN

    How about if we file a lawsuit against the federal government to outlaw paying taxes, so that congressmen and women can't get thier lavish paychecks, and also their top of the line health care that they receive!!!

    March 24, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. Felly

    These guys are morons. If it's mandatory to purchase auto insurance in most states, why won't it be mandatory to purchase a health insurance. You have to be healthy to work and drive. For a healthy society is a productive society. Moreover, when there is conflict, Federal law superceeds State law. These Grand Obstructionist are not smart and have their priorities wrong.

    March 24, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Meggs

    Good job Gov. McDonnell.

    March 24, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. Car Insurance

    We require everyone to buy car insurance. Everyone should pay at least a percentage to cover their own needs, like for car insurance. It should be the same for health insurance. The Democrats are correct in making everyone get health insurance.

    March 24, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Adam

    What a bunch a babies.

    March 24, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Andy from NY

    The state takeover of the Virginia airports, and military installations will be next. This will be a prelude to seceding from the union.

    March 24, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. kem

    These lawsuits are disgraceful and disrespectful and makes me ashamed to be an American. Not only will they not prevail, they look like fools and it demeans the office of president.. Our president himself is an expert in constitutional law... they will not win.

    March 24, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Miguel Reyes

    Yeah, you tell them bro !! if it's your wish that your constituents die from not being able to afford healthcare, so be it, if they are forced to decide between keeping their houses or letting their sick kid die ... so be it, wish I could live there and not in old New York where they actually care about us.

    March 24, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. Grahame Rhodes

    They can file laws till the cows come home. Won't make a scrap of difference. By 2014 everybody will have forgotten it all anyway.

    March 24, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Jay

    And my guess is you will make sure, by any means possible, that those who are uninsured and suffering will continue to do so, and everyone else will continue to carry the tax burden for those for those without insurance who have no choice for care except the ER. Typical self-absorbed, heartless, myopic, thoughtless politics. You were against Social Security, against Medicare, against Civil Rights, now you're against Health Care. Typical.

    March 24, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. JT the college freshman from MO

    I would not suggest he do that; that would show that he with along with the majority of conservatives unfortunately want to stop progress from happening to our nation. I personally think that there are some individuals who are stuck back in the time that they grew up back when this country was much less diverse than it is now. Whether they choose to accept this or not, there is more people who are of different race, culture, and even sexual preferences that are different, and trying to deny that reality for themselves really shows their true colors of intolerant people. Now, on the issue of healhcare reform, I am hearing along with this governenor that they either want to sue the president or try to repeal this bill. I think what they are trying to do is very unnecessary and futile. This will benefit so many people, that in a couple of decades, we will wonder why in the world we did not do this sooner. Let me explain what this is going to do.

    The core of the law is the extension of health care coverage to 32 million who now lack it, a goal to be achieved through a complex cocktail of new mandates for individuals and employers, subsidies for people who can't afford to buy coverage on their own, consumer-friendly rules clamped on insurers, tax breaks, and marketplaces to shop for health plans.

    The law's most far-reaching changes don't kick until 2014, including a requirement that most Americans carry health insurance — whether through an employer, a government program or their own purchase — or pay a fine. To make that a reality, tax credits to help cover the cost of premiums will start flowing to middle-class families and Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low-income people.

    Among the new rules on insurance companies are banning lifetime dollar limits on policies, coverage denials for pre-existing conditions, and policy cancellations when someone gets sick. Insurers also will have to allow parents to keep children on their plans up to age 26.

    The changes are to be paid for with cuts in projected government payment increases to hospitals, insurance companies and others under Medicare and other health programs, an increase in the Medicare payroll tax for some, fees on insurance companies, drug makers and medical device manufacturers, a new excise tax on high-value insurance plans and a tax on indoor tanning services.

    For seniors, the plan the plan will gradually close the "doughnut hole" prescription coverage gap and improve preventive care. But it also will cut funding for popular private insurance plans offered through Medicare Advantage. About one-quarter of seniors have signed up for such plans, which generally offer lower out-of-pocket costs.

    There are some individuals who fear an expansion of healthcare will bankrupt the country, despite an estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that the law will cut federal budget deficits by an estimated $143 billion over a decade and over 1.3 trillion in the next decade after that.

    This bill will actually give up to 4 million small businessmen and women tax credits to cover the healthcare costs of their employees; that means they will be able to leave more money in your paycheck; aka, a raise that you can put in savings for future use to pay off or buy a house without going belly up financially.

    This year, every child under 18 will be able to have access to healthcare if they do not have insurance right now.

    Again, what some states are tying to do is very pointless and futile; this heatlhcare bill is far from perfect, but it is still far better than the status quo that we are exposed to.

    March 24, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. Paul

    Pointless grandstanding. Federal law trumps state law. And what McDonnell is effectively asking for is that the rest of the country pay for the costs of Virginia's uninsured.

    March 24, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. GJ

    I thought Republicans didn't like it when so-called activist judges throw out laws passed by the legislative branch. Hypocrites!

    March 24, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. Barbara Independent in NY

    It is not at all surprising that this governor doesn't want more people to have access to insurance coverage. I wonder, do the good citizens of Virginia realize that they have elected a Neanderthal as governor? He and his attorney general are systematically doing away with the rights of anyone in Virginia that's not like them. The people of Virginia really should have read the governor's old college papers that surfaced. Believing in discrimination doesn't disappear with age.

    March 24, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  21. The Unsub

    another waste of the taxpayers money. Federal Law trumps state laws. Period.

    March 24, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. linda

    What is wrong with the residents of the state of Virginia? Is it your
    water?

    How could you put an idiot like Cuccinelli in the AG office?

    I thought the people of Virginia were somewhat educated – guess
    I was wrong.....so pitiful they appear to be.

    These attempts to overrule the new Health Care Reform legislation initiated by our fabulous President Obama, and spearheaded by
    Madam Speaker and the rest of the Democrats with foresight
    will be failed attempts.

    Virginians: How much money do you want your state to spend on
    useless lawsuits?

    Better boot these idiots out before your become more broke than
    you already are.

    March 24, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  23. U.S. Common Sense

    Fight the good fight, Virginia.

    March 24, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. Repubhypocrites

    These lawsuits are BS and a bunch of Balogna! Republicans just cant stand to lose. You are so bitter that you're like children on a playground. This is why nothing gets done. Stupid Americans elect republicans that do nothing but obstruct and protect the rich. If they would spend all this time and energy trying to compromise on economy and healthcare things could be better. But as some voters will continue to vote against their own interest. .......

    These lawsuits are meaningless and are merely another crybaby method from bitter republicans. Face it! You got beat by the "Community Organizer". And then you want to try to block any changes to healthcare law passed or set dems up with your crony Ammendments. Your supporters are obviously delusional.

    March 24, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. Frivolous Lawsuit

    If that's the case, why must every car owner purchase car insurance? I've never had a car accident in my life and I'm forced to pay premiums every month. For what? In case something happens. Nothings happened in 16 years. Can I get my money back?

    March 24, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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