Individual mandates are one of the centerpieces of the Democratic reform plan as well as one of the most highly contended parts of the legislation. Half of the Nation’s states are standing up to government imposed health insurance mandates, and now so is North Carolina.
Under the Dome reports, North Carolina House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Stam and Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger announced plans to develop state legislation entitled the “Health Care Protection Act” that would counter the Federal government’s move to force individuals to purchase health insurance. They argue people should be free to choose their own insurance plans and have the option to pay out of pocket for their medical expenses.
Do states have the power to opt out of a federal law? It is arguable they do if the federal law is unconstitutional. Imposing individual mandates can easily be construed as a direct attack on our basic freedoms, as stated in the 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” And to many, this action by the Federal government to impose costly mandates on individuals in a dire economic time is doubly offensive.
One thing is clear; this radical erosion of our liberties has not only shifted the issue of individual rights to the center of the health care debate, but has also brought what seems the long forgotten issue of states’ rights back to the forefront of political discourse.