A top House Republican predicted last night that Americans will engage in "civil disobedience" to protest healthcare reform.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has partial jurisdiction over healthcare, told Fox Business Network that Americans would refuse to comply with mandates to buy insurance.
"You're probably going to see a quite a bit of civil disobedience," Barton said. "Not in a violent sense, but all these people are supposed to mandatorily sign up, they're just not going to do it. They're going to say make me pay the penalty but I'm not going to do it."
Individual mandates have become a flashpoint for the debate about the bill's constitutionality. Republicans claim that the federal government doesn't have the authority to force individuals to purchase a product from a private company--in this case, insurance companies.
Barton also said Republicans would likely have the votes to "repeal or reform" the bill after the 2010 midterms.
A number of state attorneys general are suing to have the bill overturned. Democrats say that the mandates are authorized by the commerce clause.