Will Pennsylvania Nullify Health Mandates?

After having been reviewed multiple times since January 31st 2011, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 10 (SB10) by a vote of  29-19.  The bill is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Pennsylvania which would prohibit any government from requiring the Pennsylvanians to buy health insurance. It states, in part –

“no law shall be enacted requiring a person to obtain or maintain health insurance coverage”

Pennsylvania Senate District 25’s Joseph B. Scarnati is the prime sponsor of the bill which still requires a vote by the General Assembly’s House of Representatives. Once fully passed by both houses, it can be placed on the ballot for a statewide referendum.

Already, ten states have passed similar bills, commonly referred to as the Health Care Freedom Act. With the current SCOTUS review of Obamacare, this action along with many others currently in process in other states, sends a clear message that Americans are not content with the Federal Government encroaching on their liberties.

The amendment, if approved by the people of Pennsylvania, would also prevent the federal government from imposing fines or penalties against people who don’t buy insurance — up to 2.5 percent of household income.

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How Not to Make the Case for Terminating Federal Programs

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney recently gave the following response to a reporter’s question on what programs he would cut:

Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one, but there are others: Planned Parenthood, we’re gonna get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I would eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, both excellent programs, but we can’t afford to borrow money to pay for these things.

It’s good that Romney can actually name federal programs that he would terminate (even if they’re relatively small programs). But how on earth does he expect to garner support from Congress to terminate the NEA and NEH after having called them “excellent programs”? Sorry, but the “federal government is broke” argument won’t get the job done. In fact, it’s just a cop out that Republican politicians often use to avoid having to provide a coherent, principled justification for spending cuts.

Last year, I criticized the Boehner Republicans in the House for making a similarly weak case for spending cuts:

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NH Medical Marijuana Bill Faces Veto

The New Hampshire Senate passed legislation 13-to-11 Wednesday, March 28, 2012 to allow a patient with a “debilitating medical condition” or that patient’s designated caretaker to cultivate and possess up to six ounces of marijuana, four mature plants and 12 seedlings at a registered “cultivation location.” It would allow the patient or caregiver to possess two ounces elsewhere. 

Despite vocal support from several traditional opponents including Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley, it failed to gather the two-thirds majority needed for a veto override.

Governor John Lynch has opposed several medical marijuana bills in recent years. He vetoed a dispensary approach in 2009, citing concerns over proliferation and cultivation beyond the dispensaries, and another medical marijuana bill died last year in the Senate after he had promised a veto. 

Following the Senate vote, Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said the bill was even less restrictive than the dispensary approach, and the governor plans to veto it (Boston Globe).

With seven Republicans supporting the bill, allowing the legislation to cross party lines, and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voting 5-0 to approve the bill, Senator Jim Forsythe (R) is leading the charge to build a veto proof majority for the legislation.

If they are successful, the New Hampshire program would resemble those in Maine and Vermont and would end in three years if lawmakers do not renew it, providing an outlet for review and reform.

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