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Health Insurance Lobby Pushing to Amend States' Constitutions
The health insurance lobby is laying the groundwork to block federal health care reform by working through think tanks to pass state laws invalidating federally-mandated reforms. Conservative and libertarian think tanks have started encouraging states to amend their constitutions to block federal health reform measures, including a mandate to purchase health insurance. The idea of amending state laws to thwart health care reform originated in Arizona's conservative Goldwater Institute, and was picked up by the pro-business American Legislative Exchange Council, whose "health care task force" and "free enterprise board" include a substantial number of drug company executives. In Colorado, Jon Caldara of the free-market think tank Independence Institute, is drafting language for a ballot initiative that would amend the state's constitution to undo the health care reforms Congress is working to pass. At least 14 similar state plans are in the works around the country.