State Lawmakers Take Aim At Barack Obamacare

Posted by: : Paul EbelingPosted on: January 16, 2014 State Lawmakers Take Aim At Barack Obamacare

State Lawmakers Take Aim At Barack Obamacare

South Carolina lawmakers say they have found a way to stop implementation of the US Affordable Care Act (ACA) in their state, an effort that could provide a way for other Republican led legislatures looking to derail the federal program.

The proposed measure would ban state agencies from helping carry out US President Barack Hussein Obama’s signature healthcare reform  law and prevent federal money flowing through state coffers from being spent on it, said Republican State Senator Tom Davis.

The legislation would give South Carolina oversight of insurance rates offered through its federal exchange and require healthcare navigators, which help people sign up for the healthcare benefits, to be licensed by the State, said Sen. Davis, who chairs the committee drafting the measure.

The state’s 2014 legislative session opened Tuesday.

“Even though the federal government may pass a law, and even though that law may be constitutional, that does not mean that the federal government can direct the state to spend state dollars to implement it,” he said. “States are not simply political subdivisions of the federal government.”

Six states have barred their employees from helping implement the law known as Barack Obamacare, said Richard Cauchi, healthcare program director for the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.

At least 8 states, including 2 that support the healthcare reforms, have regulated the  navigators, he added.

“Florida and Ohio have said: ‘We will have nothing to do with this law; we will not make it workable,'” he said. “At what point does state inaction constitute interference with a federal law?”

Last fall, a federal judge blocked Tennessee’s “Emergency Rule,” which would have fined healthcare navigators for helping people find insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

In December, Georgia lawmakers said they would follow South Carolina’s lead this year in trying to prevent state agencies from taking part in Barack Obamacare. With many legislatures convening this month, it is too soon to tell what other states will consider new obstacles to the law, Mr. Cauchi said.

Last year, South Carolina’s House of Representatives passed legislation to nullify Barack Obamacare, but Sen. Davis said that effort clearly would not have passed a legal test.

The State Senator said he believed the rewritten bill, which he expects to be taken up for debate in a few weeks, will  have “teeth.”

Opponents of the federal law are looking to South Carolina for a “Template, something that other states can follow,” Sen. Davis said. “It’s like we are holding the fort until we can get people in Congress that can repeal or replace it.”

He said he expected Democratic opposition and would need almost every Senate Republican’s vote to stop a filibuster.

If the measure becomes law, it probably will face legal challenges from opponents, said Gibbs Knotts, Chairman of the Political Science department at the College of Charleston.

“It’s blocking access to something provided by the federal government,” Mr. Knotts said. “There’s all sorts of unfunded federal mandates that the states have to play a role in.”

Stay tuned…

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Paul Ebeling

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Paul Ebeling

Pattern Recognition Analyst, equities, commodities, forex
Paul Ebeling is best known for his work as writer and publisher of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly-regarded, weekly financial market letter, where he enjoys an international audience among opinion makers, business leaders, and respected organizations. Something of a pioneer in online stock market and commodities discussion and analysis, Ebeling has been online since 1994. He has studied and worked in the global financial and stock markets since 1984.
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