The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved legislation to try to block a provision of the federal law requiring Americans to buy insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty.
Republicans say they want North Carolina to be exempt from the requirment.
"Never before has Congress compelled Americans, under threat of government fines or taxes, to purchase a product or a service simply as a condition of existing in this country," said Rep. Jeff Barnhart.
But while most every Republican supported that position, most every Democrat opposed it - some on legal grounds.
"I think the bill is unconstitutional," offered Fayetteville Democrat Rick Glazier.
Others challenged the notion that no other laws require people to do things.
"The last time I checked, I was required to have car insurance and I'm very happy that other people are required to have car insurance because I don't want someone running into me and I don't have a problem with that mandate," offered Raleigh Democrat Jennifer Weiss.
The measure could see a vote in the full House as early as next week.
Republican lawmakers say the bill is designed to force Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper to join 26 other states in a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law's constitutionality or to defend the state law banning the insurance mandate.
"This is designed to protect the vast majority of our citizens from what we believe to be an unjustified incursion of power," offered House Majority Leader Skip Stam.
Cooper has refused to join litigation by other states. He sent ABC11 the following statement Thursday:
"The Attorney General must uphold state and federal laws, but if they conflict, the US Constitution and federal law prevail. A state law that authorizes North Carolina citizens to violate federal law could be found to be unconstitutional. The federal health law is deemed Constitutional until the federal appellate courts conclude otherwise."