Va. Senate votes to outlaw individual mandates
This reads like very bad news for health-care reform:
Virginia's Democratic-controlled state Senate passed measures Monday that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance, a direct challenge to the party's efforts in Washington to reform health care.
The bills, a top priority of Virginia's "tea party" movement, were approved 23 to 17 as five Democrats who represent swing areas of the state joined all 18 Republicans in the chamber in backing the legislation.
My vague understanding is that federal law preempts state law in these matters, but that's cold comfort. You don't want federal law to have to preempt state law in these matters. The bill is expected to make it through the House and receive the governor's signature, which is not the sort of thing that's likely to stiffen Democratic spines.
There continues to be a part of me that thinks Democrats should just send Medicare buy-in, a large Medicaid expansion, tax credits and a tax on the rich through the reconciliation process. The problem with that plan is that the interest groups would howl and fret, which means Democrats won't do it. But as things stand, Democrats are stuck defending a policy compromise that no one on the other side has agreed to, and too few on their side are excited about.