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Member Questions of the Week of February 22, 2010

Joseph from San Antonio, TX asks: “Is there anything constitutionally that prevents persons from buying health care plans across state lines? If not, what is it in law that is stopping this now?” OUR ANSWER: Existing federal law provides for an almost exclusive state regulation of health insurance. Meaning, each state can set its own rules and regulations that an insurance company must follow to receive a license to provide insurance in that particular state. There are exceptions, as there are federal laws governing group insurance and self-insured employer health plans. Yet, there is nothing in the Constitution forbidding interstate commerce in health insurance. Under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress is authorized to regulate such interstate commerce. In the case of health insurance it has chosen to leave the regulation up to the states, which renders health insurance an intra-state phenomenon. Thus, there is no national market for health insurance as there is for other goods and services in the economy. Many state regulators and larger insurance companies prefer this approach since it enhances the power of state regulators over the terms and conditions of coverage while also limiting the supply of available options in any given state.

Jay from Lauderhill, FL asks: “What is your policy towards Iran’s nuclear ambitions?” OUR ANSWER: Dealing with Irans nuclear ambitions requires tough and proactive actions as well as exhibiting a public and clear commitment to use military force to protect U.S. vital interests if necessary. The U.S. must adopt tough unilateral sanctions on the regime. Our government should demonstrate leadership in bringing the world’s attention to Iran’s horrific human rights record. Washington should also reaffirm its policy of extended deterrence and provide robust defensive measures to its friends and allies in the region. Just as important, the U.S. must be seen as providing a robust defense for itself (most notably through a strategic missile defense system), because a secure America will be perceived as more willing to act to protect its friends and allies.
Unfortunately, our government in Washington is not doing nearly enough. The regime in Tehran has used the pretext of negotiating to stretch out talks indefinitely. Iran has already been using a sort of run out the clock strategy of forestalling meaningful international action on its violations of United Nations Security Council orders while simultaneously advancing in its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. It is not inevitable, but if left to its wishes, Iran will develop a nuclear weapon and pair it with long-range ballistic missiles. Read Heritages publication, Irans Nuclear Threat: The Day After, to learn more about how the U.S. should address a nuclear Iran, or to access a more comprehensive body of Heritage research on Iran go here.

Linda Kay from Kingwood, TX asks: “Where can I get copies of the Executive orders that have been signed in the last year & ones that are signed as they happen? OUR ANSWER: To view the archived history of Executive orders go to the National Archives website here. Their website contains all Executive orders since 1937. Since taking office, President Obama has issued 42 Executive orders. However, that pales in comparison to Franklin Delano Roosevelts astounding 3,728 orders, which represents more Executive orders than Presidents Truman,  Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and both Bushes combined!

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