The escalating legal battle over the recent health care legislation has spilled out of the federal judiciary into state governments. An August 14 story from the New York Times reports:
Faced with the need to review insurance rates and enforce a panoply of new rights granted to consumers, states are scrambling to make sure they have the necessary legal authority to carry out the responsibilities being placed on them by President Obama’s health care law.
Insurance commissioners in about half the states say they do not have clear authority to enforce consumer protection standards that take effect next month.
Federal and state officials are searching for ways to plug the gap. Otherwise, they say, the ability of consumers to secure the benefits of the new law could vary widely, depending on where they live.
But Arizona, meanwhile, has adopted a course of action that comes rather close to employing some kind of state nullification:
Arizona said it was unlikely to pass legislation authorizing any state agency to enforce federal insurance standards, in view of its participation in a lawsuit challenging the federal law. Moreover, it said, Gov. Jan Brewer has “instituted an indefinite rule-making moratorium, so we have no plans to adopt rules related to enforcement” of the law.
Gov. Brewer, despite causing controversy on the national scene due to Arizona’s immigration law, nevertheless enjoys very promising poll numbers. In the likely event that she wins reelection, Arizona will most certainly become a key state worth watching in the states’ struggle against the federal government.