By Julian Pecquet - 01/15/11 03:23 PM EST
If the federal government can require people to buy insurance, nothing can stop them from forcing people to exercise 45 minutes a day or eat spinach daily, new Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) told Fox News on Friday.
"Maybe we should do all those things, but I don't think any of our viewers want to see the federal government involved in that," DeWine said as he explained why Ohio is joining a multi-state challenge to the law. "If they can do this there is no stopping what the federal government can do. There is absolutely no limit. A lot is at stake. Not just the healthcare bill, there is a lot at stake."
DeWine isn't the first conservative to draw a food police analogy, and even the judge in the Florida case that Ohio seeks to join asked last month whether the government has the right to mandate that everyone has to buy a certain amount of broccoli. The Obama administration's answer is that insurance isn't a product but a financing mechanism, and that people who don't buy insurance unfairly burden both the government and their fellow Americans who end up paying higher premiums to make up for uncompensated care.
Wisconsin has also recently asked to join the Florida suit and Oklahoma is filing a separate challenge. A decision in Florida is expected as early as next week.
Asked why Ohio wants to join the suit, DeWine gave a three-part answer.
"Well, first of all, it's a pledge that I made. And I took that pledge very seriously. I said I would do it on the first day and we started that process. Second, Ohio is a major state. Ohio has a lot at stake.
"Third, I believe that this adds some wait. As you mentioned, there will be additional states along with Ohio that we believe on Tuesday. Florida will ask for additional states to be added. I'm not sure exactly what number that will take us to, 24-25. But it is at a critical mass."