What Does The SCOTUS Obamacare Decision Mean For North Dakota’s Ban On Insurance Mandates?
The North Dakota Policy Council points out in a press release reacting to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare that insurance mandates are illegal in North Dakota.
“North Dakota has on the books a law that prohibits any government from manating participation in any health care system,” reads the release. “This law may be grounds for another round of litigation using a 10th Amendment argument.”
Here’s the text of the law. An excerpt:
Regardless of whether a resident of this state has or is eligible for health insurance coverage under a health insurance policy, health service contract, or evidence of coverage by or through an employer or under a plan sponsored by the state or federal government, the resident is not required to obtain or maintain a policy of individual health coverage except as may be required by a court or by the department of human services through a court or administrative proceeding.
The question is whether or not the way the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare circumvents this prohibition. The argument that those who have no respect for state sovereignty will make is that state law cannot contradict federal law. That’s not true, but the problem is that the Obamacare mandate has been upheld as a tax, not a mandate.
If it were a mandate, the state’s might have a case in saying that the federal government cannot force state citizens to do something state law says they don’t have to do. But the states can’t tell the federal government how to tax.
Sadly, I think the Supreme Court’s ruling nullifies this sort of state-level protection. You aren’t being forced to buy health insurance. You’re just being taxed according to whether or not you decide to buy health insurance.
I don’t agree with that interpretation of taxing power. I don’t think the government should be able to tax you for not buying health insurance any more than the government should be able to tax you for choosing not to order a pizza, but unfortunately that’s the precedent they’ve set.Tags: insurance mandates, North Dakota News, obamacare