Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the Obamacare bill becoming the Obamacare law, as President Barack Obama added his signature to the legislation. It also marks the one year anniversary of Virginia’s lawsuit contesting the bill’s constitutionality (and defending the Virginia Health Freedom Act), as lawyers from the Office of Attorney General moments after the signing ceremony memorably walked the petition a few blocks north in downtown Richmond to the new Federal District Courthouse that now dominates Broad Street. Ever since, the issue has dominated the news. Virginia won rounds one (beating back the feds’ motion to dismiss) and two (the ruling that the law is unconstitutional). Now the Obama Justice Department is appealing to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which maintains a modest residence on Main Street in a building the Confederacy used as its administrative offices, just next door to the OAG. The appeal will be heard in May.
More symbolism: Richmond’s unfancied VCU soundly defeated Washington’s big, bad, sophisticated Georgetown in the NCAA Basketball Tournament last weekend, the second of its three upset wins last week. A sign that Richmond does things better than D.C.? That the third time also will be a charm? That the righteous and smaller underdog, the scoffed at state capital will defeat the unjust behemoth federal city? We’ll see.
In the meantime, below is a statement issued today by Governor Bob McDonnell on the twin anniversaries:
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s signing of the hastily passed 2,700 page federal healthcare bill that creates an unprecedented intrusion on America’s strong free enterprise system and places enormous unfunded mandates on the states. It was also one year ago that Virginia became the first state to file suit against the federal government over the constitutionality of this law. Today, lawmakers, state leaders, and our citizens remain as concerned about the provisions of the law as they were on the day the bill was signed.
It is estimated that implementation of the federal healthcare bill will cost Virginia $2 billion between now and 2022. While we all agree that we must make healthcare more affordable, accessible and accountable, it cannot occur in a manner that infringes on our constitutional rights, makes it harder for private-sector employers to hire new workers, creates major new government bureaucracies, raises taxes and places unfunded mandates on states that we simply cannot afford. We need to improve healthcare in our nation with common sense, free market solutions, not a federal government controlled plan.
A majority of governors across the county strongly support our call for an expedited review by the Supreme Court of the pending health care lawsuits. This will permit us to obtain certainty and finality on the law promptly, and the Obama Administration’s opposition to this request is extremely disappointing and not in the best interest of the American people. As we move past this one year anniversary, we must get clarity on a law that will have a huge impact on states, business and individuals in the years ahead, should it be implemented. We need to improve our healthcare system, but this is the wrong way to do it. It must be replaced with improvements to our excellent medical care system in a way that improves access and reduces costs, while not stifling innovation and creating unsustainable burdens on the states.