Early round victory

A lawsuit filed by the state of Virginia against ObamaCare cleared its first legal hurdle Monday when a federal judge turned down a move to have it thrown out.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli argues in the lawsuit that Congress doesn't have the authority to require citizens to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

"Unquestionably, this regulation radically changes the landscape of health insurance coverage in America," wrote U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in his 32-page decision.

The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation this year exempting state residents from the federal coverage mandate. Judge Hudson found the attorney general had a right to defend that state law.

More than a dozen other state attorneys general have filed a separate lawsuit in Florida challenging the federal law, but Virginia's lawsuit is the first to go before a judge.

Judge Hudson said the case raises a host of legitimate constitutional issues, including whether Congress has the right under the Commerce Clause to regulate and tax a person's decision not to participate in interstate commerce.

Federal lawyers argue the insurance mandate is needed because uninsured Americans are shifting $43 billion a year in health care costs to others.

There are two answers to this claim.

First, constitutional rights are individual rights, they cannot be overruled by perceived collective "needs."

But second: How are the deadbeats "shifting" these costs? Costs can only be "shifted" if an outside force -- in this case, armed government -- requires that a service be provided for free, leaving the provider to make up his loss by increasing charges to customers who actually pay their bills.

Can you eat a restaurant meal and leave without paying, trusting the government will force the proprietor to shift the cost to other diners? That would be a recipe for eventually destroying the restaurant industry, wouldn't it?

The problem starts when the government destroys the property right which medical care providers have in their own services.

Virginia is correct to challenge the underlying assumptions of socialized medicine, which has become a vicious and bloodstained tyranny of rationing and false promises wherever it's been tried.

Monday's preliminary ruling was only the first round. But it went to the good guys.


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