State News

N.C. GOP attempts to block health care overhaul

Posted January 19, 2010 3:45 p.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2010 4:21 p.m. EST

— North Carolina Republicans say they'll take their fight over the federal health care overhaul to the Legislative Building if the Democratic plan passes on Capitol Hill.

House and Senate GOP leaders said Tuesday at a news conference they would file legislation when the General Assembly returns in May letting North Carolina residents "opt out" of requirements that they get health insurance or face cash penalties.

"Republicans will not stand idly by and watch as citizens' rights to make their own health care decisions are taken from them by the federal government," Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger said. "The people of North Carolina are overwhelmingly opposed to this blatant abuse of power."

House Minority Leader Paul Stam said he believes the U.S. Constitution gives states the right not to participate in parts of the overhaul.

"This should not be about partisan politics; it should be about the individual freedom of our citizens," said Stam, R-Wake.

Passage in the legislature is a long shot because Democrats control the General Assembly.

House Speaker Joe Hackney told reporters later Tuesday the GOP news conference sounded like a political event, not a substantive one. Other states are examining similar legislation.