TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – President Obama and Congress insist they have the authority to force every American to buy health insurance.
Last summer, the Supreme Court put its rubber stamp on that notion, ruling that the federal government does indeed possess the authority to force all 350-plus million Americans into a one-size fits all health care system via its taxing authority.
Florida voters will have the opportunity to tell the feds to go pound the plentiful Sunshine State sand on Nov. 6 when they consider Amendment 1, a health care freedom amendment.
If passed, the amendment will “prohibit laws or rules from compelling any person or employer to purchase, obtain, or otherwise provide for health care coverage.” The proposed amendment would also allow health care providers to accept direct payment for services.
Call it a tax or call it a penalty, in effect, the amendment would nullify the insurance mandate written into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Amendment 1 would “exempt persons, employers, and health care providers from penalties and taxes for paying directly or accepting direct payment for lawful health care services; and prohibit laws or rules from abolishing the private market for health care coverage of any lawful health care service.”
The Florida legislature placed the amendment on the ballot. It passed the Florida Senate on March 9, 2011, by a 29-10 margin. The House overwhelmingly agreed, passing the measure 80-37 on May 4 that same year. To become part of the Florida constitution, the amendment must garner at least 60 percent of the votes when Floridians go to the polls.
Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) sponsored the Amendment in the House.
“I say keep your hands off my freedom.”
Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolis (R-Melbourne) threw his weight behind the measure.
“We’re just trying to back up the will of the people and stand up for the Constitution,” he said. “We have to stand up, because once we get to a one-size fits all nation, we lose the country.”
The amendment lacks any enforcement provision, but overwhelming passage would set a precedent and open doors for future action.
“The Florida legislature has been reluctant to do anything concrete in terms of blocking implementation of Obamacare, and some would argue this amendment is nothing but a paper-tiger for Republicans to hide behind,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said. “But you have to remember, this is the people speaking. And when the people speak, that tends to motivate the politicians. Over the last four years, we’ve seen amendments and resolutions without enforcement provisions set the stage for more direct action down the road. The bottom line is that this gives Floridians the opportunity to look Uncle Sam in the eye and say, ‘We don’t accept your unconstitutional meddling in our lives.’”
It would also provide an avenue for blocking any future federal intervention in Floridians’ health care choices should Romney “repeal and replace” with something equally onerous. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “If voters approve Amendment 1, that could give Gov. Rick Scott and legislators additional drive to continue to resist implementing certain provisions of the law, such as an expansion of the Medicaid program or creating a health exchange.”
Opponents argue voters should reject the amendment because the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause trumps all state action. The editorial board of the Tampa Bay Times made this argument in an Oct. 9 piece urging a no-vote.
“But federal law trumps the state Constitution, meaning that the amendment would have no impact. The U. S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate’s constitutionality under Congress’ taxing powers.”
Maharrey points out that the Supremacy Clause doesn’t make an unconstitutional act a legitimate law.
“That’s patently ridiculous. Only acts passed ‘in pursuance of ‘ the Constitution stands up as the supreme law of the land. And despite the opinion of five federal employees over at the Supreme Court, the Constitution does not delegate the federal government the power to create and run a national health care system,” he said. “Florida voters should pass this amendment, and then insist that their state senators, representatives and their governor back it up and put some teeth to it.”
For more information on health freedom legislation across the U.S., click HERE.
For information on health care nullification legislation, click HERE.
For model health care nullification legislation, click HERE.
And if you want to get involved in leading a health care nullification movement in your state, click HERE.
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