Obamacare is facing yet another fiscal hurdle, this time in South Carolina, where state lawmakers believe they may have found a new way to prevent the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act within the state.
If the actions currently being undertaken succeed, the process could provide a template for Republican and libertarian-leaning lawmakers in other states to follow.
The South Carolina Obamacare bill, according to Reuters, would prevent state agencies from carrying out the nationwide health care law and would stop the flow of federal dollars from reaching state coffers. The pending legislation would allow South Carolina to oversee “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,” the new agency reported.
Significantly, the bill won’t “nullify” the law, Senator Tom Davis said. The new session opened Jan. 15. Said Davis, the bill’s sponsor:
Even though the federal government may pass a law, and even though that law may be constitutional, that doesn’t mean that the federal government can direct the state to spend state dollars to implement it. States aren’t simply political subdivisions of the federal government.
A total of six states have already barred their employees from implementing Obamacare, according to Richard Cauchi, healthcare program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Florida and Ohio have said, ‘We will have nothing to do with this law; we won’t make it workable.’ At what point does state inaction constitute interference with a federal law?
During the fall of 2013 a federal judge blocked attempts at an “emergency rule” in Tennessee. The law would have allowed for fines to be levied against healthcare navigators for aiding folks trying to enroll in Obamacare, Reuters said. In December lawmakers in Georgia stated they would follow the example set by South Carolina and attempt to stop stage agencies from participating in Obamacare. Many state legislatures have not yet returned to session, so it remains unclear how many more will follow suit.
Last year the South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill to nullify the Affordable Care Act, but Davis acknowledges such legislations would not have “passed legal muster.” The state senator recently told the media that the rewritten version of the bill will be put up for debates in the coming weeks and will “have teeth.” Senator Davis also said, “It’s like we’re holding the fort until we can get people in Congress that can repeal or replace it.” The Republican lawmaker fully expects opposition from his Democratic colleagues and noted he needs the support of all of his GOP peers to prevent a filibuster.
South Carolina Progressive Network Director Brett Bursey had this to say about the Obamacare ban proposal in South Carolina:
“It is going to hurt people being able to access the marketplace because some of the navigator teams will pull out.”
College of Charleston political science professor Gibbs Knotts called the South Carolina bill tantamount to preventing access to a program “provided by the federal government.” Knotts also added that there are a multitude of unfunded federal mandates in which the states are forced to play a role.
The number of Americans officially signed up for the president’s plan still remains a hotly contested figure. Although accounts have been created and plans chosen, many of the one million enrollees have yet to pay the first month’s premium. Approximately five million Americans lost their health insurance due to the enactment of Obamacare.
How do you feel about the South Carolina’s Obamacare bill?