The General Assembly in Virginia has approved legislation that would prohibit any requirement for residents to obtain and maintain healthcare coverage.
The legislation also would exempt Virginia residents from any penalty for failure to obtain health coverage. The legislation goes to Governor Bob McDonnell, who is expected to sign the legislation into law.
The legislation is a direct response to proposed healthcare reform on the federal level. Both chambers of the U.S. Congress have approved bills that would require individuals to maintain healthcare insurance and would impose a penalty on those who fail to do so. The U.S. Senate and U.S. House have approved different versions of healthcare reform, which is the reason neither bill has reached the desk of President Barack Obama.
Lawmakers in other states have proposed similar legislation to that approved by the Virginia General Assembly. There's at least one state that won't approve similar legislation: Massachusttes, which already requires individuals to carry healthcare insurance.
Update: After Presidnet Obama signed healthcare reform into law on March 23, 2010, several states filed lawsuits arguing that a requirement for every individual to obtain and maintain health insurance is unconstitutional.