In a run up to his likely race for U.S. Senate, state Senate President Mike Haridopolos announced he filed a proposed amendment to the state constitution that could stop President Obama's health care plan, which requires people to buy health insurance or face penalties. The amendment is likely to pass the Legislature, but whether it can meet the 60 percent voter-approval threshold for constitutional amendments is a far tougher call.
The Legislature passed a similar amendment last year, but the courts struck it from the November ballot, saying it was misleading. Much of the purportedly misleading language is absent from this proposal, which begins "To preserve the freedom of all residents of the state to provide for their own health care...A law or rule may not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system."
But there's only so much freedom the Legislature wants us to have. After all, the Legislature mandates everyone buy car insurance (though driving is a privelege, not a right). The idea for mandating health insurance purchases was first tested in a state by a Republican, Mitt Romney, when he was governor of Massachussets. If Romney survives a GOP presidential primary and Haridopolos makes the general ballot along with his amendment, it'll be an interesting political dynamic 2012.
Assuming the federal courts don't strike down ObamaCare, it's unclear how the state can stop a Congressional mandate like this. But it's certain that, if this amendment passes, a future Legislature won't pass a RomneyCare mandate.
In other Haridopolos bill news, he has filed another piece of legislation to compensate William Dillon, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years.