Following up on Anne Laurie, on the conservative legal challenges to the health care reform act, I’m wondering why Senator Ron Wyden’s good question about the sincerity of those legal challenges hasn’t gotten more attention.
So, in both the Healthy Americans Act and in the current health reform law, I included a provision that would allow states to gain an exemption from certain federal requirements — such as the individual mandate, the employer penalty and the exact standards for designing the exchanges, subsidies and basic health insurance policies — if they could find a way to do a better job of covering their state’s citizens.
To date, I haven’t seen a single one of those states currently filing lawsuits against the individual mandate propose better ways of covering their citizens. In fact, one of the reasons I have been drawing attention to the state waiver is to highlight the insincerity of those filing lawsuits. If states aren’t happy with the federal law they should be spending their energy innovating ways to do better rather than wasting taxpayer dollars on lawsuits that — if successful — would leave their state’s citizens with nothing.
E.D. Kain has referred to Wyden’s amendment several times, but have mainstream media asked any of the conservative lawyers bringing the challenges if they’re aware of the Wyden amendment? It comes into play in 2017.
I don’t believe the legal challenges have anything to do with the actual health care reform legislation, as enacted. I think they’re yet another round in the long-running conservative effort to dramatically roll back the reach of the Commerce Clause.
I don’t mind a fight, but I think we’d all be better off if we could get the other side to admit what they’re actually fighting about. If dramatically rolling back the reach of the Commerce Clause is more important to these state lawyers than health care, I think they have a duty to clue their citizens in on that.
They should have to answer this question:
“Why don’t you use the waiver provision to let you go set up your own plan?” the senator asked those who threaten health-care-related lawsuits. “Why would you just say you are going to sue everybody, when this bill gives you the authority and the legal counsel is on record as saying you can do it without an individual mandate?”