Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Democrat AG In Missouri Breaks With His Party To Oppose Obamacare

He’s not joining his state to the multi-state legal challenge to Obamacare, and he’s only questioning the legality of the individual insurance mandate arguing that the rest of the law should stay on the books, but he is saying that the individual mandate was federal overreach and ought to be overturned.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Democratic attorney general broke with his party on Monday and urged a federal judge to invalidate the central provision of the new health care law. …

Mr. Koster’s action followed months of pressure from state Republicans that he join attorneys general from other states who are challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Rather than join the litigation, however, Mr. Koster chose to file a “friend of the court” brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, which is reviewing one of five challenges to the act that have moved into the midlevel appellate courts. …

Though Mr. Koster has been slow to weigh in, he did not mince words, arguing in the court brief that Congress had overstepped its authority by mandating that individuals buy health insurance, which he called “a substantial blow to federalism and personal freedom.”

“If Congress can force activity under the Commerce Clause, then it could force individuals to receive vaccinations or annual checkups, undergo mammogram or prostate exams or maintain a specific body mass,” he wrote.

He asked that the mandate be stripped from the law, and that the rest of it be allowed to remain in effect.

Koster was a Republican until 2007, when he switched to Democrat in advance of his 2008 run to become AG with Obama at the top of the ticket. He, obviously, won that race but is now splitting with his party on Obamacare.

And it’s easy to see why. Last year a ballot referendum to nullify Obamacare passed in the state by a 3 – 1 margin. Republicans made major gains in the state in the 2010 election. With Koster facing re-election in 2012, the party-switcher seems to want to be on the other side of Obamacare.

Which shows just how powerful opposition to Obamacare is even now, a year and one election cycle hence.