(Tallahassee, FL.) -- In a press release last week Republicans in the Florida State House touted the passage of House Joint Resolution 37. The measure proposes an amendment to the Florida constitution prohibiting some parts of President Obama’s health care legislation from taking effect in the state.
Most noticeably the so-called individual mandate that requires individuals to buy into a health insurance pool. Should it become law it will, “…prohibit laws or rules from compelling any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system, …”
House Majority Leader Adam Hasner said in the statement, “The Federal Health Care Reform legislation recently signed into law by President Obama forces uninsured individuals to purchase health insurance or face penalties imposed by the IRS.”
The measure’s sponsor, Representative Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) was quoted in the release as saying, “The government has never required citizens to purchase a product from a private for-profit company as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.”
The Boston Globe reported in March on the disagreement among legal scholars about how much power the federal government has to impose mandates on its citizens. The Globe reported, “Analysts said there is no direct precedent for Congress requiring that individuals purchase a product such as health insurance, although some indirect cases are cited by advocates on both sides.”
When asked about the dozen or so state’s planning legal action to stop the president’s reforms from taking effect, The Washington Examiner reported that White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration was confident the health care law would prevail in any legal challenge.
HR-37 was debated in both chambers, it passed the Florida House 74-42. Hours later the Senate passed the same bill, 26-11. Whether this effort ends up in a legal challenge depends now on what happens in November when the measure goes before the voters. Because the bill is a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution it does not require the governor’s signature.