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McDonnell signs Healthcare Freedom Act

Edited by Chris Graham

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act in a mid-afternoon ceremony today in Richmond.

McDonnell, a Republican, was joined at the bill signing by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, State Sens. Steve Martin, Fred Quayle and Jill Vogel and Del. Bob Marshall, all Republicans.

“We all agree that we must expand access to quality health care and reduce costs for all Virginians. However, that should not be accomplished through an unprecedented federal mandate on individuals that we believe violates the U.S. Constitution,” McDonnell said.

The bill sets as the policy of Virginia that no individual, with several specific exceptions, can be required to purchase health-insurance coverage.

Despite the absence of Democrats at the signing ceremony, McDonnell noted that the legislation passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support.

Cuccinelli, who has filed suit in federal court to block the application of health-care reform signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, used the occasion to defend his legal challenge.

“The traditional role of the attorney general is to defend Virginia’s laws. It is now my job to vigorously defend this law from the federal government’s overreach of the Constitution and its attempted encroachment on the rights of Virginians. That is my mandate, and that is my promise to our citizens,” Cuccinelli said.