State sovereignty is the next battlefield over health care - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

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State sovereignty is the next battlefield over health care

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Posted: Saturday, April 3, 2010 11:00 pm

And, Gov. Jan Brewer is outta’ the shoot. Observers say her plans to sue the feds over the health care law put her back in harmony with her party.

The state Legislature has given her office the authority to file the suit. Special legislative action was needed because Democrat Attorney General Terry Goddard refuses to join other states who are challenging Obamacare in the courts.

Brewer’s move to assert the state’s sovereignty further establishes Arizona as one of the leaders in the growing movement to claim the rights of a state to determine what’s best for its citizens. Clearly the high courts need to review the feds’ powers. And, there are those who believe the U.S. Supreme Court is federalism friendly. Time will tell.

Arizona is the poster child for what’s wrong with Obamacare, and Brewer tried to warn the president several weeks ago that the law will scuttle the budgets of already floundering states. As states are forced to feed the monster, other priorities will lose their place in line.

In her March 10 letter to the president, Brewer reminded him that Arizona is recognized as one of the country’s best Medicaid models, yet “the program today demands nearly one in five state dollars, limiting our ability to invest in other critical services such as education, public safety… and job growth.”

She said, instead of Obamacare complementing Arizona’s system, it will require that we actually pay twice: “Once for our program and then once more for the higher match for other states.” She begged him to reconsider. “More power is centralized in Washington, D.C.,” she noted. “And the states become just another financing mechanism.”

I explored the topic of federalism last year when Clint Bolick, litigation director for the Goldwater Institute, predicted: “Federalism will be the defining legal issue in the Obama era.”

But, the success of this challenge won’t happen without citizens’ continued, aggressive responses against a Goliath that prints its own money at a whim and buys votes. Time is short. Key players urgently encourage states to move with conviction. As concerned citizens seek to make a difference, they’ll make it there.

We’ve seen the maps showing legal actions in progress as many states begin the fight to block the bulldozing feds. Arizona’s visionary legislators saw this health incursion coming when it put into this fall’s ballot a measure to amend the state constitution. The measure declares that Arizonans, and only Arizonans will determine their health care system. In fact, there are multiple measures in the state’s pipeline designed to put the feds on notice that Arizona intends to maintain its sovereignty.

So, the fight is on our doorsteps. We cannot give up one more inch of ground. Thankfully, most citizens understand that confiscating our neighbor’s income, in order to attain “free” health care, destroys the very core of a civilized society.

Without doubt, there are better ways, in harmony with the Constitution, to serve those in need. We must find them, and we must take the time to do it right.


Linda Turley-Hansen is a syndicated columnist and former veteran Phoenix television news anchorwoman who lives in the East Valley. Her column appears monthly. She can be reached by e-mail at

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