RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — Expect the year’s hot-button health care debate to play into this year’s Virginia campaigns for Congress, the U.S. Senate and even the White House.
Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, said Wednesday that President Obama’s 2-year-old health care reforms, particularly its requirement that everyone carry health coverage or pay a penalty, will be a major weapon in the GOP arsenal.
Priebus and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling repeatedly called it a federal overreach into private lives during a news conference that took place as three days of arguments about the constitutionality of the health care law concluded before the Supreme Court in Washington.
“We’re on the side of the majority of people in this country that say no to big government health care and yes to real reform and individual liberty and freedom and the Bill of Rights,” Priebus said. “We’ll make sure Americans across the country remember Obamacare in November.”
Democrats served notice this week that Republicans will own their new state law requiring pre-abortion ultrasound imaging exams but refusing to mandate insurance coverage or state payment for the mandated procedure. After an amendment that would have required insurers to cover it or the state to pay for uninsured women fell one vote shy in the Senate Monday, House Democratic Caucus chairman A. Donald McEachin of Henrico said will be an issue that dogs Republicans for the 2012 federal elections and next year’s gubernatorial race.
Abdominal ultrasounds are routinely performed by most abortion providers. Requiring it, however, provoked Capitol Square protests that resulted in the arrests of 30 demonstrators earlier this month by women’s groups and allied liberal interests. Early versions of the legislation called for the more invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound. However, the ultrasound method was amended after Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Bob McDonnell became joke fodder for television comedians over the issue earlier this year.
Asked why he considered the federal health care law an overreach while excusing Virginia’s emotional ultrasound law, Priebus couched the distinction as a question of federalism and constitutional power reserved for states.
“There’s something called the 10th Amendment, and the power in that regard has already been handed to states,” he said. “The state legislature here had the authority under the law to put these bills in place and I have to respect the legislature here and the state government in Virginia.”
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