Virginia may have beaten Missouri to the punch nearly two weeks ago when it became the first state to approve legislation allowing its citizens to avoid a federal mandate to buy health insurance, but Idaho topped that by becoming the first state to actually have its governor sign such a bill into law on Wednesday.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter stressed that the measure, deemed the Idaho Health Freedom Act, will keep citizens of that state from having to "turn over another part of their life to government control," reports the Associated Press. He also believes it will have significant nationwide clout, especially if the 37 other states working on such legislation ultimately follow Idaho's lead.
"[Y]ou get 36 states, that's a critical mass," Otter said. "That's a constitutional mass."
A spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli also announced yesterday that his state will file a lawsuit against the federal government, should the health reform bill be approved by Congress, according to the Washington Post's blog, Virginia Politics.
However David Freeman Engstrom, a constitutional law expert at Stanford University Law School, isn't sure that any of these laws or threats to file suit will make a difference in the grand scheme of things, citing that federal law always trumps state law. "[I]t really doesn't matter what a state legislature says on this," he said.