Health care overhauls coming out of the nation's capital may be in flux, but Del. Bob Marshall, R-Dist. 13, isn't waiting for the final version and has instead introduced early legislation at the state level guaranteeing Virginians control of their coverage.
On Dec. 7, Marshall prefiled the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act that "protects an individual's right and power to participate or to decline to participate in a health care system or plan," according to the summary of H.B. 10.
The idea is to halt any federal requirement for individuals to purchase health insurance.
Such regulation has been hotly debated along mostly party lines in Congress, and the White House has maintained the mandate for all to buy or else pay a fine is necessary in order to keep health care costs affordable.
The mandate has been subject to scrutiny from legal analysts, and some say a constitutional challenge looms should that aspect of health care reform pass.
"To compel someone to enter a contract with the threat of a fine or a year jail time … that's an un-precedented use of several powers in the Constitution," Marshall said. "It's never been done."