On Pam Bondi's first full day in office, the new Attorney General in Florida has written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on the topic that she brought the most passion to during her campaign - picking up the mantle from Bill McCollum on leading the fight against the individual mandate provision written into the health care reform bill that President Obama signed last spring.
Bondi writes that so many newly elected officials owe in part their victory to their opposition to what critics call "ObamaCare." After delivering some of the sordid history that has been referred to as the "sausage making" of the legislation (including invoking the "Cornhusker kickback" named in honor of the attempt to appease Nebraska's wavering Ben Nelson), the Attorney General then describes what's happened in the courts, before concluding with this passage:
As new state attorneys general take office in the coming week, I fully expect an increase in the ranks of the states fighting ObamaCare in court. Our lawsuit, together with a similar lawsuit filed by Virginia's attorney general, has exposed the health-care law's threat to individual liberty and to the constitutional structure that the Founders designed as a means of protecting that liberty. The stakes are clear and compelling: If the courts deem the federal health-care law to be constitutional, then there are no meaningful constitutional restraints on Congress's power to regulate virtually every facet of our lives.
This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe, former Vermont Governor and a sometimes critic of President Obama from the left, Howard Dean, said he believed that the individual mandate not make it through the court system, and he said that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. It should be noted that the individual mandate is by far the most unpopular part of the health care law, and has brought such ideological opponents as Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann together in denouncing it.
Advocates for that mandate have insisted that having everyone buy into the program is the only way that will make it feasible for insurance companies to now accept patients with pre-existing conditions, by far the most popular part of the new law. But Dean said today that when he provided universal coverage for children in his state, he did not do so with an individual mandate.