Roughly two years since its enactment, the US Supreme Court is weighing the constitutionality of the federal Affordable Care Act. Also this week, the state Senate appears poised to weigh in on the issue.
A proposed amendment to the state constitution reads that no person shall be required to obtain health insurance, and the state cannot penalize anyone who doesn’t have it. “We have a responsibility as states to protect our rights as states to pass these laws,” says Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), the bill’s prime sponsor. “This is not a federal issue.”
Scarnati says SB 10 would provide Pennsylvania citizens with an opportunity to speak out on “Obamacare” at the ballot box. He believes the federal health care mandate is unconstitutional.
A constitutional amendment must be approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive legislative sessions, then ratified by Pennsylvania voters. The earliest SB 10 could make it on the ballot is 2013.
SB 10 passed the Banking & Insurance Committee (9 – 5) earlier this month. It cleared the Appropriations Committee (16 -10) late Monday. The full Senate could cast votes as early as this week.
When Radio PA caught up with Obama for America press secretary Ben LaBolt this week, he was confident that the high court will uphold the law’s constitutionality. “What’s clear is that Americans don’t want to go back to allowing insurance companies to write their own rules.”