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Maryland refuses to follow Virginia on health care

Health Care

Maryland's Democratically controlled House of Delegates on Saturday rejected an attempt by Republicans to follow Virginia's lead and set up a showdown with the Obama administration over whether the federal government has the right to require individuals to buy health insurance.

Democrats' move was hardly seen as a surprise. They were rebuffing an attempt by the chamber's Republican minority to hijack a bill that Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) administration had sought to begin implementing the health-care reform.

Yet, the spectacle provided the most high-profile venue yet for Maryland lawmakers to weigh in on the health-care bill Obama signed earlier this week to provide near universal coverage.

MD-OpeningDay-O'DonnellandShank.JPGHouse Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert) proposed an amendment to a bill that would allow state officials to administer Maryland's share of a national health-care exchange. His amendment would have made it illegal for any "penalty, tax, fee, or fine of any type" to be imposed on Marylanders who declined to buy health care coverage.

O'Donnell argued the measure is needed to let state residents "do what they need to do to buy a product they want to buy without fear of federal retribution.

"I want to protect our citizens from the Internal Revenue Service that will have a new army of law enforcement officers to implement this provision," he said.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli this week used a similar measure passed this month by state lawmakers to argue that there's an "immediate, actual controversy" between state and federal law that gives Virginia unique standing to sue.

In his suit, Cuccinelli says the new requirement that individuals buy health insurance exceeds the federal government's power to regulate interstate commerce.

Shane E. Pendergrass (D-Howard), vice chair of the House's Health and Government Operations Committee and sponsor of the bill, stood and said it was the wrong time and the wrong place for Republicans to try to go after the new federal health care act.

"Putting a few sentences into state law that has some tangential relationship to federal law probably is not the way to challenge federal law," she said to applause from some fellow Democrats.

House Minority Whip Christopher B. Shank (R-Washington) was undeterred.

"We can proceed to implement federalized national health care without question and go down a very slippery slope ... or with [this amendment] we can say you can't be forced to participate in a government-run public plan."

The Republican effort failed by a vote of 43-96, but did garner a handful of votes from Democrats who represent some of Maryland's more rural counties.
The Democrats who voted for the Republican amendment were: Daniel B. Riley (D-Cecil); Kevin Kelly (D-Allegany); David D. Rudolph (D-Cecil); John F. Wood (D-Charles); and Michael H. Weir, Jr. (D-Baltimore County).

Republicans still have two remaining bills with similar aims. Both are expected to die in committee.

By Aaron C. Davis  |  March 27, 2010; 7:56 PM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , Health Care  
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Next: Yeas and nays: Today in the Md. General Assembly


then see maryland lose more of it's millionaires...
and more of it's tax base...

Posted by: DwightCollins | March 28, 2010 4:15 AM | Report abuse

Some lawmakers are beyond naive.With the new requirements on insurance companies,what do they think will be the price of insurance in that state?Do they think the insurance industry is going to absorb the increased cost to do business in that state?I wished Congress would just let them opt out and watch what happen.

Posted by: mars7578 | March 28, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

So while Maryland is moving forward to implement the benefits of health care reform the "moderate" elected officials of Virginia are, once again, filing suit against our own federal government.

Posted by: cmckeonjr | March 28, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

A millionaire can save maryland's income tax and inheritance tax, if he/she moves to florida, which are around 8 percent. You just need to stay in florida for six months and a day each year to satisfy the residency requirement. That way you can pass on much more money to your children if you have a sizable estate and income. Democrats are nothing but losers and thieves.

Posted by: twotimetuna | March 28, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

@cmckeonjr "So while Maryland is moving forward to implement the benefits of health care reform the 'moderate' elected officials of Virginia are, once again, filing suit against our own federal government."

- - - -

As to the sarcasm about Virginia being 'moderate', may I remind you that Virginia's bill protecting the right to buy or not to buy health insurance passed by 82% in the VA House. That's was real bi-partisanship looks like.

As to your point that Virginia is "once again" filing suite, if you look at the history, you will find that the feds have sued Virginia and its citizens many times more frequently than the reverse. There is absolutely nothing remarkable about what the AG is doing. It is not a partisan issue. In 2003, it was the Democrats who were suing the feds over EPA regulations.

Here's a useful trend line of court cases filed since 1790:,tl_num:100&ei=AUevS9y0J8H7lweijYmQAQ&oi=timeline_navigation_bar&ct=timeline-navbar&cd=3&ved=0CKgBEMsBKAQ&cts=1269778267976

Posted by: dmarney | March 28, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

The country with the most millionares in the world is now MEXICO. The new role model for Republican philosophy.

Virginia republicans have petitioned that the new state motto be changed to:

Virginia is for "Idiots", from the current Virginia is for lovers.

Posted by: NewThoughts | March 28, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

The country with the most millionares in the world is now MEXICO. The new role model for Republican philosophy.

Virginia republicans have petitioned that the new state motto be changed to:

Virginia is for "Idiots", from the current Virginia is for lovers

Posted by: NewThoughts | March 28, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse


well, it seems the democrats and obozo want to grant amnesty to the illegal alien mexicans for more registered democrats. Are the illegals the democrats new role models?

Posted by: twotimetuna | March 28, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Once again, the Repubs waste taxpayer dollars for their own purely political aims. Rather than finding solutions to the problems their citizens face, they prefer to undue the accomplishments of others. 13.8% of VA's citizens are uninsured. Yet they would deny them health insurance.

Posted by: MNUSA | March 28, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I am quite pleased to see that Maryland is not following the poor example set by a large number of Virginia (GOP) lawmakers who are doing nothing more than political grandstanding and perpetuating misinformation about health insurance reform with the intent of deceiving the average run-of-the-mill citizen. These GOP clowns should be voted out of office for the disservice they are doing for working-class Virginians.

Posted by: JBGJRESQ | March 28, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

This is the beauty of States Rights, we in Virginia should not be forced into any Federal program that is socially related and not in the national interests. Maryland's state politicians want in, that's their choice. We in Virginia are more independent and want out. No State should be forced to buy in if they and their citizens so choose.

Let's let the Courts decide. That's why we have three branches of government...

Posted by: FedUp8 | March 28, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Good decision not to waste the taxpayers' money in Maryland. How much does it cost to file a losing lawsuit?

Posted by: goodgovernment | March 28, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Long before the reform bill, there were differences in the approaches of Maryland and Virginia. Maryland was much more emphatic on cost control, with tighter requirements for such things as establishing trauma centers. There are far fewer in Maryland than Virginia. This may have changed, but there was also more of a requirement to justify major capital expenditures such as MRIs and other high-dollar imaging equipment.

On the other hand, Maryland also has had a strong tradition of state preference in such things as air evacuation by state police helicopter. While this has probably been better executed than many for-profit services, there is a national consensus of trauma surgeons that air evacuation is overused, often dangerous, and not giving much benefit to patients in many cases.

Posted by: HCBerkowitz | March 28, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Virginia elected officals are stupid and backwards... Virginia elected officials are about to turn that state back into the stone ages!... Maryland is progessing point blank!

Posted by: AllforOne | March 28, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

So while Maryland is moving forward to implement the benefits of health care reform the "moderate" elected officials of Virginia are, once again, filing suit against our own federal government.

Posted by: cmckeonjr


It's the Old Dominion way.

Maryland has the best primary/secondary education in the Country; beats Virginia year after year.

As a percentage of the population we have more millionaires than Virginia. [MD: 6.26% vs. Virgina 5.51%

Median Household Income in MD is $70,482; in Virginia it's $61,210

It's clear to Virginians that Virginia is a better place to be. I'm happy for them.

Posted by: James10 | March 28, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Shoot. This is about health insurance. Another reason Virginians are proud is the have more uninsured than Maryland.

In Virginia, 9.3% of the population are uninsured; in Maryland it's 8.6%. Virginians know bigger numbers are better.

It's hard to imagine why more Maryland residents aren't pouring over the border to live in Virginia.

Posted by: James10 | March 28, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Maryland is a dump.

Posted by: 50Eagle | March 28, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Shoot. :o) Those were actually just uninsured children between the ages of 0-18.

In the total population Maryland has 12.9% uninsured while in Virginia it's 13.8%.

No doubt you can see why Virginians prefer Virginia

The have a lower median household income [hence lower taxes]; fewer millionaires; an inferior education system to Maryland; more uninsured children and more uninsured in the total population.

And of course, the new Virginia motto.

"Virginia is for Homophobes"

Posted by: James10 | March 28, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Maryland is a dump.

Posted by: 50Eagle


Actually, Virginia is literally "the dump". Virginia gets paid by several States, e.g., New York to take their trash. New York ships it's garbage to Virginia by barge for Virginian land fills.

Posted by: James10 | March 28, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Maryland has some of the best primary and secondary public schools in the country? WTF?
Let's compare MD vs. VA:
VA: UVA, VPI, W&L, GMU, W&M, VMI, JMU, U of R, MMU, Radford, Richmond, Mary Washington, ODU, VCU, Longwood, Mary Baldwin, Hollins, Sweet Briar, Liberty, Lynchburg, Hampden-Sydney, should I continue? Many of these schools have one or more curriculums that are nationally ranked - US News and World Report
MD: John Hopkins, UM at College Park, and what else? USNA? Oh wait - that's a federal Academy. How about UMBC, Towson, Salisbury, Frostburg, Mt. Saint Mary's, St. Mary's - what the heck are these schools known for? Their teaching programs? And Aren't they all sort of part of the larger 'University of Maryland' system? nice, more MD state run bureaucracy. So you've got UMCP with various nationally recognized Curricula and John Hopkins with one thing, medicine - which will soon not be very good, because nobody will want to have the government tell them how much they can make.

I moved to VA because I know from firsthand experience that MD public schools are the lowest common denominator. Keep telling yourselves that Maryland is great while all of the big earners in Maryland flee across the Potomac so they can attempt to keep more of the products of their labor, instead of allowing MD to confiscate their earnings.

Posted by: 50Eagle | March 28, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Yet another reason to live in Virginia.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | March 28, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

No surprise...Maryland residents surrendered to GovCo a long time ago. As with Obamacare, this is all about symbolism...substance is being ignored for the sake of worshipping the false god of GovCo as the end-all, be-all. The additional $$ that Maryland will need to pay for this unfunded mandate will break the state. But, in a state that went after slot gambling as a source of revenue, you cannot expect much. Good luck losers.

Posted by: boomer131 | March 28, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

welcome to :===== ====

Air jordan(1-24)shoes $33

Handbags(Coach l v f e n d i d&g) $35

Tshirts (ed hardy,lacoste) $16

Jean(True Religion,ed hardy,coogi) $30

Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,A r m a i n i) $16

New era cap $15

Bikini (Ed hardy,) $25


====== ====

Posted by: itkonlyyoudd | March 28, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

"How much does it cost to file a losing lawsuit?"

2 orders of magnitude less than what it will cost the taxpayers of MD to implement the bill.

Here's how it will work, bunky. People who pay lots of taxes will still live here if needed, but will change residence to states that have the lowest overall tax burden.

Meanwhile the leeches will be hounding "tax the rich to pay for my free ride", all the while not realizing their jobs are in play, and the tax burden will be high enough that it will start to hit those rich guys making $40K per year. Or did you forget you pay medicare taxes on the first dollar you make.

You grasshoppers seem content to hope the ant will bring in food for the winter. I think that's about to end as people in higher incomes will now do crazy things to shield their income from the fed. But don't worry, as your income goes down (because your boss isn't going to eat health care costs), there will be plenty of hard-working Spanish speaking folks willing to work for your reduced wage (and under the table); they seem willing to work hard.

Maybe SEIU will unionize you. That will help.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | March 28, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Repeal and replace the Republican Party!
Democrats Care!
Republicans Don't!

Posted by: lunetrick | March 28, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Maryland is a dump.

Posted by: 50Eagle | March 28, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

You thought that up all by yourself? Aren't you special!

Posted by: ceefer66 | March 28, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Maryland is almost as Left as California, so no surprise here.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | March 28, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

How can any thinking American NOT want his or her Attorney General to question the overreaching power grab by Obama and the corrupt Democratic party?

How were you raised? Didn't you learn anything in school about love of country, individual freedoms and rights, limited government, etc.?

Maryland MUST have the socio-economic breakdowns that Obama hates - the rich and the dependent. That must be a nice place.

Otherwise, how could corrupt Democrats be elected over and over again? Must be a media blitz about what blacks, Latinos, immigrants, and illegals can get for FREE - right around election time.


Posted by: easttxisfreaky | March 28, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

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