Well, my home state of Pennsylvania has officially joined the ranks of 31 other states which have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to unconstitutional federal health care mandates. According to a press release just received from the American Legislative Exchange Council, two pieces of legislation have been filed in the State Capitol in Harrisburg which would insulate Pennsylvanians from the improper encroachment of the federal government into their daily lives.
Here’s the press release so you can read for yourself (emphasis mine):
Washington, D.C.— The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—the nation’s largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators—congratulates Pennsylvania State Representatives Matthew Baker and Curt Schroder for filing House Bills 2053 and 2179, which protect the right of individuals to make their own health care choices. Representatives Baker and Schroder will hold a joint press conference tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg to discuss their efforts.
Pennsylvania joins 31 other states where legislators have introduced, or will introduce, legislation modeled after ALEC’s Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. Under the legislation, any state attempt to require an individual to purchase health insurance—or forbid an individual from purchasing services outside of the required health care system—would be rendered unconstitutional. The measure may also cause a federalism clash if Congress passes a law with either of these provisions.
“Massachusetts enacted its disastrous individual mandate to thunderous bipartisan applause, and now leaders in Congress are set to wreak the same havoc on the rest of America. Today, Pennsylvania is standing up to say ‘no’ to these assaults on patients’ rights,” said Christie Herrera, director of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force, which is coordinating the nationwide effort.
“This is a battle that has been fought before and won before. States may protect individual liberties to a greater extent than the U.S. Constitution allows, and the courts must balance the competing interests. This is the foundation of the effort in Pennsylvania and elsewhere—that health care choice is a civil liberties issue,” Herrera added.
The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act has already been filed or prefiled in 25 states—Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Lawmakers in an additional 7 states—Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Utah—have publicly announced their intentions to file the legislation. A citizen initiative has also been announced in Colorado.
Arizona’s measure, which passed the legislature last June, will be put before voters there on the November ballot.
Our founders often wrote that the greatest repository of freedom, as well as the last line of defense with regard to keep it, lies in the people. That’s why they designed our system of government the way they did. It was a balancing act, as they learned from the flawed Articles of Confederation, and it’s nice to see that we’re starting to put everything back into balance.
Obviously, the legislation here and in states beyond still needs to be passed. Overall, though, we’re beginning to see that freedom is no longer taken for granted, that people across America finally understand the limited nature of our federal government as designed. It’s not the finish line for sure, but it’s a start.