Health Reform Battlegrounds: Virginia, Missouri and….Mayberry?

419-people_andy_griffith_sff_embedded_prod_affiliate_56Over the last 48 hours, there have been some interesting developments in the ongoing struggle to affect the implementation of the new health reform law.

•      In Virginia, a federal district court judge rejected the Obama administration’s motion to dismiss state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s suit against the health reform law.  The suit claims that the law’s individual mandate requirements are unconstitutional.  Judge Henry Hudson said the Virginia case raises “the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate — and tax — a citizen’s decision not to participate in interstate commerce.”  There seems little question that this dispute is destined for the U.S. Supreme Court.

•      Today, Missouri voters are going to the polls for party primary elections, but also to vote on Proposition C, a yes-or-no ballot initiative that, if passed, would ostensibly ban the enforcement of the health insurance individual mandate within the state.  The proposition is expected to pass.  Of course, most legal experts hold that federal law supersedes state law and that an action like Missouri’s wouldn’t stand up to a legal challenge.  But that would seem to be beside the point.  If Missouri is the beginning of a wave of several states declaring formal objection to the mandate,  implementation of the coverage aspects of health reform is going to be extremely problematic.   Congress’s and the administration’s job, as it turns out, wasn’t finished with the passage of health reform.  It’s still essential to convince the American public that, in order to offer health coverage even to Americans with pre-existing conditions, it’s necessary to have everyone in the system.

•      There’s a new television public service announcement running that features television icon Andy Griffith touting the benefits for senior citizens in the new health reform law.  Today, a group of Republican Senators asked HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to take the ads off the air, saying in a letter that the ad “is a clear violation of the spirit of federal laws that prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes.”

Who would have guessed that the continuing health reform wars would extend even into peaceful Mayberry?