Otter's Constitutional Mass


Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter appeared on national television last night talking about the Idaho Health Freedom Act, which he signed into law Wednesday. He was the first governor in the nation to sign such a bill (Virginia passed a similar bill, but the governor allowed it to become law without his signature).

The bill requires Idaho's attorney general to sue the federal government if the state is forced to require health coverage for Idaho citizens. Some three dozen states are considering such measures, what Otter is calling a Constitutional mass. In the two clips below, Fox News' Neil Cavuto lets Otter say "Constitutional mass" several times while CNN's Anderson Cooper fires back: "What do you mean by Constitutional mass?"

Otter waffles on the question, instead claiming that Congress does not have the Constitutional authority to pass the health reform bill that Democrats in the House plan to approve on Sunday. Cooper says that question of federal authority was laid to rest after the Civil War.

Cavuto asks an interesting, and related, question too, though he lazily pins it on unnamed Otter critics: Does this bill create havoc, with the 50 states deciding not to follow federal law, even in matters of the military. They say (unnamed critics) that, "you are the one inciting danger," Cavuto posits.

Otter also maintains that the health reform bill is unfair because it treats states differently. We find no reference to individual states in the full text of the bill, but USA Today assures us (sorry, only link i could find this morning) that the special, vote-buying provisions for Nebraska have been struck but that Louisiana (and maybe Florida, according to Otter) will still get extra Medicaid funding because they are in natural disaster recovery areas.

[UPDATE: Otter spokesman Jon Hanian acknowledges that the Nebraska deal has been removed from the bill, but told citydesk that there are new carve-outs for Tennessee, and that North Dakota, Montana and Connecticut, as well as Louisiana are still getting special treatment. Hanian cites Fox on this and WaPo has an eerily similar story too. Oh, that's an AP story.

“The governor’s concern remains … we were led to believe that this process was going to be transparent ... The process wasn’t going to be questioned,” Hanian said.]

Watch and compare the two interviews below (and thank Fox for not embedding an ad with their clip! And, note the awesome speed reader in the bottom right corner ... Who says Fox can't do snark?):