With the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting an immediate review of the state of Virginia’s challenge to the federal health care law, the Obama administration can be expected to accelerate its effort to force citizens to buy federally-approved health insurance. At the same time, pressure will mount on states to integrate the individual mandate into the fabric of state law. If states yield, it will become impossible for them to challenge the individual mandate with a straight face.
Indeed, a second court decision from Florida striking down the federal health care law was stayed in large part because a handful of states challenging the law had already undertaken steps to implement it. For this reason, it is especially critical for Governor Jan Brewer to protect our health care freedom by signing Senate Bill 1088, which lays the foundation for Arizona to enter into the Interstate Health Care Freedom Compact.
SB1088 is the bookend to Arizona’s Health Care Freedom Act, which voters approved to amend the state constitution and guarantee our freedom to choose our own health care providers and insurance plans. If SB1088 is signed and later joined by at least one other state, the compact would support a strong legal argument that it is a crime for anyone, including state and federal officials, to enforce the federal insurance mandate within the compacting states. Unlike the blunt power clash forced by “nullification” efforts, the Interstate Health Care Freedom Compact authorized by SB1088 would restrain the federal government with its own tools. This is because an existing federal law gives prior approval from Congress to interstate compacts such as the one authorized by SB1088.
Governor Brewer has long been a leader in checking and balancing Washington. But there could be no more powerful manifestation of the governor’s creative leadership than if she placed her signature on SB1088, and thereby leveraged federal law to protect our state’s guarantee of health care freedom.
You can share your opinion on this bill with the Governor’s office by making a comment online or by calling (602) 542-4331.
Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.
Goldwater Institute: What is an Interstate Compact?
Arizona Legislature: Senate Bill 1088