McDonnell signs Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act

Gov. Bob McDonnell reminded everyone today who enacts law in the Commonwealth of Virginia when he ceremonially signed Virginia’s Health Care Freedom Act, setting up a challenge between the commonwealth and the Federal government.

Flanked by Sen. Steve Martin and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and also joined by Sen. Jill Vogel, Sen. Fred Quayle and Del. Bob Marshall, the governor signed the four pieces of legislation that preserve the choice of all Virginians from having to pay for health care they don’t need, want, or can’t afford.

“We all agree that we must expand access to quality health care and reduce costs for all Virginians. However, that should not be accomplished through an unprecedented federal mandate on individuals that we believe violates the U.S. Constitution,” said McDonnell. “The Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act sets as the policy of the Commonwealth that no individual, with several specific exceptions, can be required to purchase health insurance coverage. The Act was passed with bipartisan support, in sharp contrast to the narrow straight line partisan vote that enacted the federal health care bill on Sunday night. Virginia’s Healthcare Freedom Act received the votes of leading Democratic Senators, as well as the Democratic House Minority Leader. It was an important step to sign this bipartisan legislation today.”

This sets the legal standing for Virginia’s challenge to the Healthcare Reform Act recently signed into law by the President.

“The traditional role of the attorney general is to defend Virginia’s laws,” said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccineilli. “It is now my job to vigorously defend this law from the federal government’s overreach of the Constitution and its attempted encroachment on the rights of Virginians. That is my mandate, and that is my promise to our citizens.”

Making a statement from Washington DC, Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia said, “Governor McDonnell and the people of Virginia understand we need to repeal [the national healthcare bill] and replace it with a more incremental approach that focuses first and foremost on lowering costs, improving access to care, and providing affordable state-based health care options. At the same time, we need to prioritize job creation, help entrepreneurs, cut the deficit, and stop spending money we don’t have.”

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor; read more.