New York Times Talks To Emmer, Kelliher

A New York Times story today prominently features one Minnesota governor candidate and a bit less so another.

Reporter Monica Davey examines efforts by Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, to pass a state constitutional amendment that would “outlaw a crucial element of the health care plans under discussion in Washington: the requirement that nearly everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty.”

“All I’m trying to do is protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions,” she quotes Emmer as saying.

While Emmer is one of nine announced Republican governor candidates, the story also brings in one of the Democratic-Farmer-Laborite candidates, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher of Minneapolis, who downplays the Emmer effort.

“Most legislators are interested in improving the health of Minnesotans, and how to do more health care reform,” Kelliher said. “No one thinks the answer is a states’ right movement.”

Much of the argument over the proposed amendment is whether a state constitution can trump a federal law. Most legal authorities say it cannot. Emmer is not convinced.

“They’re essentially saying that state constitutions are meaningless,” he said, “and I disagree. And tell me where in the U.S. Constitution it says the federal government has the right to provide health care?”