Rob McKenna Says After Obamacare, Feds Will Next Mandate We Buy Chevys

Also, the attorney general warns against water fluoridation.

Rob McKenna missed oral arguments Tuesday morning as the U.S. Department of Justice attempted to shut down a lawsuit he filed along with 19 other state attorneys general to overturn the new health-care law. But after being briefed by a staffer who listened in, McKenna told reporters by phone, "I think it's obvious that the judge is going to let this lawsuit move forward." If McKenna and friends are successful, you might want to rethink any plans you had for quitting your job in 2014 on the assumption Obamacare would kick in. McKenna said his decision to pursue the lawsuit, over the will of Governor Chris Gregoire, has nothing to do with the health-care policy; it's entirely about the Constitution. His challenge hinges on a provision of the federal health-care reform act that, starting in 2014, requires everyone in the U.S. to purchase insurance or face a tax penalty. The mandate was a concession to insurance companies—since the law says they can no longer deny insurance to anyone based on a pre-existing condition, it also requires that people not wait until they get sick to buy coverage. But, to McKenna, requiring people to purchase health insurance is just the start of a slippery slope—and further down it, the feds "make us buy a new Chevy every three years," as he put it. The DOJ argued that since Congress has the right to tax citizens, it also has the right to create a tax penalty for not having health insurance. U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson plans to make his final ruling one month from today. The general assumption seems to be that the case will eventually find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a statement on Monday, McKenna said that "health-care reform is essential—and much too important to build on an unconstitutional foundation." So Seattle Weekly asked him what constitutionally sound reform might look like. "They could bring more people into Medicaid or Medicare," McKenna responded. He then conceded that a single-payer system, favored by the likes of super-left, Seattle-area Representative Jim McDermott, could fit the constitutional bill. But somehow we don't think that the Republican McKenna, who says he will decide next year whether to pursue the state governorship, would be terribly in favor of that either. Meanwhile, with national polls showing lukewarm support for the health-care reform bill, many incumbent Democrats on the campaign trail are downplaying their role in their party's historic achievement. Indeed, several Dems are touting their vote against the bill, The New York Times reports. Not so Patty Murray. On the campaign trail, Murray not only expresses continued support for the bill, she boasts of writing part of it. (The part she authored provides incentives for medical students to go into primary care and to serve areas of the country that have few doctors.) Murray also continues to back the biggest bugaboo of the debate, the "public option." A government-run system, she says, "is the best way to lower costs long-term." Needless to say, Republican challenger Dino Rossi has been on the attack, claiming that the Murray-supported law is going to translate into billion-dollar tax increases and lost jobs.

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