Power Play

Florida Supreme Court to Weigh Ballot Measure Banning ObamaCare's Insurance Mandate

The Florida Supreme Court will consider this week whether to restore Proposition C, a ballot measure that would prohibit the government from requiring people to have health insurance or from penalizing them for not having it, a key provision of President Obama's health care law.

The state high court will begin hearing oral arguments Wednesday. The Florida legislature in April approved the referendum, which is similar to the one Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed this this month, but a lower court removed the measure from the ballot last month, saying it was misleading and could confuse voters.

If the measure is restored, 60 percent of Florida voters would have to approve it to block the insurance mandate.

Legislatures in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana and Virginia have passed similar statutes without referring them to the ballot, and voters in Arizona and Oklahoma will vote on such measures as state constitutional amendments in November. Missouri was the first state to challenge aspects of the federal law in a referendum.

The intent of the federal requirement is to broaden the pool of healthy people covered by insurers, thus holding down premiums that otherwise would rise because of separate provisions prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with poor health or pre-existing conditions.

But the insurance requirement has been one of the most contentious parts of the new federal law. Public officials in well over a dozen states have filed lawsuits claiming Congress overstepped its constitutional authority by requiring citizens to buy health insurance.

Federal courts are expected to weigh in well before the insurance requirement takes effect about whether the federal health care overhaul is constitutional.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.