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Virginia legislature passes bill barring mandatory individual health coverage

[JURIST] The Virginia General Assembly [official website] on Wednesday passed a bill [text, PDF] that will ban any federal mandate for individuals to have health insurance. The bill, called the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, is the first of its kind [WP report] passed by any state, and says that no individual shall be held liable if they refuse to sign up for health care. Governor Robert McDonnell [official website] has said that he will sign [WTVR report] the bill into law. About 30 other states are working on a similar measure to negate [ALEC report] the widely expected federal mandate for health insurance.

Last month, President Barack Obama released his own health care proposal [JURIST report] that seeks to reconcile versions of the bill passed by the House and Senate [JURIST reports] last year. In December, 13 state attorney generals threatened to sue [JURIST report] unless a provision in the Senate bill exempting Nebraska from much of its health care costs was removed. Obama has argued that the legislation would overhaul private health insurance and provide affordable care for millions of Americans while Republicans have said they would block the bill [NYT report] because it was too expensive and would compel people to buy health insurance.

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