Last week, the Washington Policy Center held its eighth annual conference on health care. As part of the conference, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna and KING-TV’s Allen Schauffler discussed the multi-state lawsuit challenging several provisions in the recent national health care reform legislation. You can view the discussion here, and it’s surprisingly interesting and informative. The entire video is about 45 minutes. The first 25 are a Q&A between Schauffler and McKenna, followed by questions from the audience.
Among the points:
- The lawsuit challenges 6 specific elements of ObamaCare.
- Fundamentally, the remedy for ObamaCare lies in Congress, not the courts.
- Attorneys general represent states, as they see it, not governors.
- What is a capitation tax?
- Why an increase in the number of people with insurance has been done by commandeering the states.
- State governments, as employees themselves, are subject to commandeering by the U.S. government.
- You’re required to “buy” Social Security; so why can’t you be required to buy health insurance?
- Aside from staff time, states involved in the multi-state lawsuit are spending minimal amounts of money–$5,000.
- When confronted with the fact that most though not all legal commentators say the lawsuit has no merit, the AG replied, “I’m glad that we don’t decide major constitutional questions by taking polls of law school professors.”
Could a lawsuit, if successful, lead to a single-payer system? McKenna says that it doesn’t push Congress in any policy decision. On the policy side, it’s clear that McKenna is sympathetic to consumer-driven rather than bureaucratic-driven reforms.
Questions from the audience include the timing of the suit; the utility of tort reform; the severability (or not) of ObamaCare; whether the individual mandate is integral to ObamaCare, legally or otherwise; could a future Congress permit catastrophic coverage; and whether we should pursue consumer-directed care when consumer-drive overconsumption of health services has given us health care inflation.
(Crossposted from StateHouseCall.)