Most Republicans are sure of two things: they don't want a government takeover of health care, and they support states' rights. But what happens when the two are set against each other?
The GOP has spent all summer railing against President Obama's suggested public health insurance option as a socialist takeover, and GOP legislators in several states have adopted resolutions asserting states' rights to regulate health insurance. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) hinted in late July that states might resist Obama's health care plan by asserting Tenth Amendment rights.
But should individual states be able to set up liberal, even socialistic, health care systems if they so choose? A majority of Republicans on the House Education and Labor Committee said yes, in a vote taken shortly before Congress left for recess.
The question was put to them in an amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). At markup of health care legislation on July 17, 13 of the committee's 19 Republicans voted "yes" on Kucinich's proposal, which would let states opt out of federal employment and health care law in order to craft their own single-payer health care regimes.
Five Republicans voted "no," and one didn't vote.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Ryan Rudominer suggests the two Michigan reps to vote "yes"--Vernon Ehlers and Pete Hoekstra--are guilty of some hypocrisy, given that the Michigan GOP sent out a fundraising e-mail blasting a single-payer proposal by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and warning of the cancelation of private insurance.
Needless to say, the 13 Republicans didn't vote "yes" out of an affinity for single-payer health care, the most liberal of the health care options that have been discussed in the past year.
"The members on the committee voted on that purely based on states' rights," a spokeswoman for Education and Labor Republicans said.
So, in the hypothetical matchup, it looks like states' rights wins.