The Heritage Foundation Reports

August 5, 2010 | By Amanda J. Reinecker

Full speed ahead on repeal

The quest to repeal Obamacare is not over. In fact, recent events in Virginia and Missouri indicate the battle has just begun.

On Monday, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s challenge to the constitutionality of Obamacare’s individual mandate overcame its first legal hurdle. His lawsuit protests the federal government’s claimed authority to regulate a person’s decision not to purchase a product such as insurance.

“I don’t think in my lifetime we’ve seen one statute that so erodes liberty than this health care bill,” Cuccinelli said in a recent interview with The Heritage Foundation’s Rob Bluey. Be sure to watch Bluey’s exclusive interview on YouTube.

In rejecting the administration’s request to dismiss Virginia’s case, U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson wrote about the dubious logic of the mandate

Unquestionably, this regulation radically changes the landscape of health insurance      coverage in America. … No reported case from any federal appellate court has extended the Commerce Clause or the Tax Clause to include the regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce. 

Just one day after the Virginia decision, the people of Missouri, a bellwether state in 2008, brought their opposition to Obamacare to the ballot box. The results: by a margin of almost 3 to 1, Missourians don’t approve of the mandate and they want out.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who also sat down for an interview with Bluey, explained the results: 

We had the first vote in the nation in the Show-Me State. And we’re showing the nation the way to repeal and replace this big government, big bureaucracy, one-size-fits-all law… We need other states to put it on the ballot like we did. Or pass it through their state legislatures. And continue the grassroots uprising that’s spreading like a prairie fire all across America. 

Kinder may get his wish. Three other states — Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma — plan to place measures similar to Missouri’s Proposition C on their ballots this November. And still more states are adopting statutes to protect patients’ rights to pay directly for medical services and to withdraw from the individual mandate. To date, five states have already enacted statutory measures: Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana and Virginia. Legislation has been introduced in 38 states. And three more states are planning to do so soon.

Additionally, 20 states have filed lawsuits similar to Virginia’s against Obamacare.

Heritage Foundation experts will continue to work at the state level to advance principled health care solutions and battle back against Obamacare. “I have learned to pay attention when I get something from Heritage,” says one state lawmaker. “[Heritage] has consistently sent things that are very helpful to me in keeping the scope of this issue in mind.  I am grateful.”

These grassroots efforts across the country illustrate the great political divide in America. As Heritage fellow Ernest Istook writes, it’s a divide between “those who see Washington’s power as limited only by the ability to sway voters and we who see it as limited by design in the U.S. Constitution.”

At least in states like Virginia and Missouri, the Constitution appears to be winning.