If it's up to the Virginia Senate, there will be no individual mandate to purchase health insurance for the state's residents. The Washington Post reports:
Virginia's Democratic-controlled state Senate passed measures Monday that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance, a direct challenge to the party's efforts in Washington to reform health care.
The bill passed on a 23 to 17 vote, with five Democrats joining all of the state's Republicans.
Now, I'm on record as arguing that health care reform is already dead. That's mostly because of the vote count, which doesn't add up; but it's also because of stories like this one, which suggest the potential strength of its opposition. Yes, it's just one state, and yes, the yes votes were mostly Republicans. But a handful of Democrats joined in, giving Republicans a win in a legislative body controlled by Democrats. And either way, it's the sort of thing that moderate Democrats—the moderate Democrats who were reticent to begin with and are proving so frustrating that their liberal counterparts have floated the idea of running ads against them—take notice of. Meanwhile, the best argument that poll-savvy liberals can come up with for Democratic legislators is "you may as well do what you believe is the right thing, since you're screwed either way!" Good luck with that one, guys.