Earlier this week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 1054, by Reps. Mike Ritze and Mike Reynolds, tentatively titled the “Freedom of Healthcare Choice Act“:
Modeled after similar legislation from Arizona, the resolution is a proposed constitutional amendment allowing citizens of the state to opt out of a federal health care plan. If the resolution is passed and the amendment is voted into the Oklahoma Constitution, it would prohibit any law or rule from directly or indirectly compelling a person or employer to participate in any health care system, allowing both the individual and the health care provider to do business without penalties or fines and allow citizens to maintain private health insurance.
As the above quote indicates, several states including Arizona, Maryland, Idaho, Missouri, Virginia, and Texas have introduced measures that would amend state constitutions to stop a presumed Federal health care mandate.
At the heart of the issue is the Tenth Amendment to the US 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.” Opponents of a Federal health care mandate have already vowed to challenge the constitutionality of any Federal healthcare law that contains such a provision, stating that such a mandate goes far beyond the enumerated powers given to the Federal government by the Constitution. The various state healthcare freedom amendments are simply an attempt to further extend this argument.
Sadly we live in an era where proponents of an increasingly powerful Federal government have largely succeeded in turning the phrase “state’s rights” into a euphemism for “racism.” Because big government liberals portray themselves as the champions of progress and justice, they always view any attempt to oppose bigger government as a de facto defense of greed, injustice, and white power.
Of course any mandate by the Federal government that would force citizens to buy anything under penalty of law is simply outrageous, and deserves to be challenged on the merits of individual freedom alone. However, we should expect proponents of a Federal health care mandate to once again characterize exemption amendments by individual states as “racism,” most probably by resorting to their standard “women, minorities hardest hit” argument.
Even though completely undoing ObamaCare (if it is signed into law) may be difficult for a new Republican Congress in 2011, we should at least be thankful that our Constitution provides a number of effective ways for individual citizens and states to challenge the enormous Federal government power grabs attempted by the Obama Administration and the Democrats.