UPDATE: About That Individual Mandate Lawsuit…

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How much confidence does the lead filer of the lawsuit against the individual mandate have that it will prevail? Virginia, whose attorney general and governor are leading the charge, at the same time is taking definitive steps to make sure that federal health reform is implemented effectively within it’s borders.

Yesterday, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the members of a new Virginia Health Reform Initiative Advisory Council, which according to a press release will “provide recommendations to the Governor towards a comprehensive strategy for implementing health reform in Virginia.” A spokeswoman for the governor says he is “very confident” the lawsuit against the individual mandate will succeed, but for now, “We’ve got to make sure that we’re prepared for the mandate to go through – that we put it through in ways that are best for Virginians.”

Even if the lawsuit is successful, McDonnell apparently is not counting on a swift victory. The new Council will examine provisions of the new federal health reform law that won’t kick in until 2014. The group will make recommendations for how to manage the Medicaid expansion and set up a state insurance exchange, for example.

McDonnell was also one of 47 governors who signed a letter to congressional leaders asking for more federal Medicaid money; Virginia will also accept $1 million in grant funding from the new health reform law to review private health insurance rates.

UPDATE: Commenter gilroys makes a good point – that McDonnell’s move may be turn out to be much better for Virginians than if he opposed implementation of the health reform law on principle and lost an opportunity to help shape how it’s put in place in the state.

Unlike his colleagues on the national level, McDonnell isn’t trying to sabotage the opposition’s initiatives just because he disagrees with them; he’s trying to see to it that if the lawsuit fails, his constituents still benefit.

This is a stark contrast to several national-level Republicans who say that if they can’t repeal health reform, they’re going to “defund it” by cutting off money (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/40536.html). This is both petulant and sets a terrible precedent for our country. Can you imagine a future when every single time Congress switches party control, they sabotage everything the last party did? Our Federal government would be even more ineffective than it already is!

Whatever your position on health reform, I still praise Gov. McDonnell for his maturity, and wish more of his fellow Republicans in DC had a similar attitude.

This is important to note and I should have done so in my original post. My overall point here is that while many Republican critics of the new law tell their constituents that it is very bad for the country, they are still eager to reap the benefits it provides. Likewise with critics of the stimulus who trumpet home-state projects funded by it.