Scott Walker: No Health Exchange for Wisconsin

On Friday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius indicating that the Badger State will not create a state insurance exchange or be involved in a state-federal partnership under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In Wisconsin, we have been successful in providing health insurance coverage to over 90 percent of state residents without the creation of an exchange and absent federal regulation. We have a long history of being a leader on health reform issues, and with more guidance and greater state flexibility, our competitive market system would have ensured health insurance coverage to the most vulnerable Wisconsinites without federalization of our market. Unfortunately, operating a state exchange would not provide the flexibility to meet our state’s unique needs or to protect our state’s taxpayers.

Therefore, after much consideration and outreach with citizens across the state, and in the best interest of the taxpayers of Wisconsin, we have determined Wisconsin will not develop a partnership or state-based exchange

Tenth Amendment Center Communications director Mike Maharrey said Walker’s concern with the lack of state control gets at the root of the problem.

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North Carolina to Make Decision on Obamacare Healthcare Exchange

   

Under the mandates of Obamacare, states are required to implement healthcare exchanges, which are online health insurance shopping centers for state residents and small businesses.  This is where they will sign up for a healthcare plan, in accordance with the dictates of federal healthcare law.  They can declare one of 3 options for these exchanges –   a pure federal plan (HHS sets it up), a state-federal plan, or pure state plan.  Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Kathleen Sibelius, has set deadlines for each of the options.  For example, the deadline for states who want to run their own exchanges (pure state plan) was Friday, November 16 (but extended by Sibelius to December 14).  For those states opting for the state-federal plan, the deadline is February 15, 2013.

Our NC State Legislature, as I understand it, had considered the state option and in fact, it passed the House.  But it failed to pass the Senate after an independent report looking into the feasibility of the option concluded that it could not be done.  There would not be enough time to set it up and get it running here in NC.  And that’s where things stood.  It was anticipated that the healthcare bill would be repealed with a Romney-Ryan victory and we wouldn’t have to be concerned with its implementation.  But that wasn’t what was written in the stars.  The re-election of President Obama has put Obamacare back at center stage.  And so, despite a deadline of February 15, Governor Beverly Perdue went ahead on Thursday, November 15 and sent a letter to Sec. Sibelius declaring that our state of North Carolina will opt for the hybrid state-federal healthcare exchange plan.  She claims the new state legislature will have the ability to stick with that option or decide that they want a pure federal plan.  What does newly-elected Governor Pat McCrory think?   (see News & Observer article below)

The states are faced with a dilemma, including North Carolina: Whether to acquiesce and accept that this bad bill and unconstitutional Supreme Court decision is “the law of the land”, or, to keep protesting and challenging the government’s authority to force its will on the individual states even when the area it wishes to legislate is one reserved to the states?   And so, that is being played out at the state level, through the opting out of the healthcare exchanges and the consideration of nullification bills and state constitutional amendments.  On November 6th, the people of 3 states voted to add an amendment to their state constitution nullifying the federal healthcare Individual Mandate –  Montana, Wyoming, and Alabama.  Florida narrowly failed to pass its Obamacare nullification amendment – by only 1% of the vote.  [See:  http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/state-laws-and-actions-challenging-ppaca.aspx]

So far, 17 states have opted out of the state healthcare exchanges mandated by Obamacare –  Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas (of course!!), South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

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Votes could signal end of cannabis prohibition

By: Paul Armentano, Deputy Director NORML, appearing originally in on the Daily Caller

Voters in Colorado and Washington made history on Election Day. For the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition.

In Colorado, 55 percent of voters approved Amendment 64, a constitutional amendment that allows those age 21 or older to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to six cannabis plants in the privacy of their home. In Washington, 55 percent of voters decided in favor of I-502, which removes statewide criminal penalties for adults who possess up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use. Longer term, both measures seek to enact regulations governing the state-licensed production and sale of marijuana for adults.

Yet, even in the short term, both votes are game-changers. For starters, both measures provide adult cannabis consumers with unprecedented legal protections. Until now, no state law has defined cannabis as a legal commodity. Some state laws do provide for a legal exception that allows for certain qualified patients to possess specific amounts of cannabis as needed. But, until now, no state in modern history has classified cannabis itself as a legal product that may be lawfully possessed and consumed by adults.

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Nullification: Are all Efforts Led by the Right?

A recent article on The Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch website, describes current nullification efforts, and provides a brief history of the principle of nullification.  The article, by Brendan Fischer, titled, Will GOP Governors Really try ‘Nullifying’ Obamacare? blames current nullification efforts on states with  Republican governors.  The article also provides the typical “nullification was used to protect slavery” argument.

Both claims are false.

States with Democratic governors are nullifying as well, and nullification was never used to protect slavery.

There are several nullification efforts happening in the United States.  Despite the article’s claims, states with Democratic governors are leading the nullification charge as well. Here’s a few:

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Texas Moves To Nullify NDAA

House Bill 149 (LS: 83R) – Texas Liberty Preservation Act.

Website: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB149

HB149 is a Bill introduced in the Texas Legislative Process on Nov. 12, 2012, by its author (Rep. Lyle Larson) and currently sits at stage 1 (filed). The design of the Bill is to nullify portions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) implemented by the federal law. Specifically, sections 1021 and 1022 are being made invalid and illegal in the State of Texas. You can read the entire bill here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/HB00149I.pdf#navpanes=0

Section (1) (b) (1) of the Bill lays out the constitutional groundwork of the findings that prompted the bill in the first place. It notes the limitations of the federal government under the 10th Amendment. It read:

(b) The legislature finds that:
(1) The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution authorizes the United States federal government to exercise only those powers specifically delegated to it under Article I, Section 8, United States Constitution;

Many people think that whatever the federal government creates as law it is the “supreme law of the land” but that is not true. Often the federal government creates laws that are thrown out because they go beyond the powers delegated to the government in the Constitution. Section (1) (b) (3) of the Bill makes this point eloquently clear. It reads:

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Georgia Blocks Health Care Exchanges

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Friday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal informed secretary Kathleen Sebelis Georgia’s intent regarding the Affordable Care Act. “As you know, I remain concerned with the one-size-fits-all approach and high financial burden imposed on states by this federal mandate” The state of Georgia will not…

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Maine’s Governor LePage Refuses To Implement Obamacare Exchanges

Maine Governor Paul LePage issued a letter yesterday to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, declaring that Maine will not implement the healthcare exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In the letter, Governor LePage stated:

Because the guidance issued in the August 13, 2012 request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is not legally binding, the State of Maine will not be submitting a Declaration Letter. Instead, this letter serves as the state’s position regarding this issue.

Since the ACA was signed into law, the State of Maine, along with several other states, has repeated on a number of occasions and we continue to believe that the law has severe legal problems, is bad policy, and overreaches into the lives and pocketbooks of fellow Americans.

This is not the first time that the Maine Governor has taken a stand against the federal legislation, better known as “Obamacare.” Back in July, he ignited a storm of controversy when he referred to the IRS as the “new Gestapo.” In addition to the remark, he also noted that the measure would “raises taxes, cuts Medicare for the elderly, gets between patients and their doctors, costs trillions of taxpayer dollars and kills jobs.”

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Ohio says no to health care exchanges

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Nov. 16, 2012) – Ohio has joined the growing list of states refusing to implement insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

On Friday, Ohio Governor John Kasich sent a letter to the director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Center for Consumer Information and Insurance indicating the Buckeye State will not take steps to set up the exchange.

“At this point, based on the information we have, states do not have any flexibility to build and manage exchanges in ways that respond to unique needs of their citizens or markets. Regardless of who runs the exchange, the end product is the same,” he wrote.

Kasich sent D.C. a bullet pointed list of items Ohio will not proceed with.

 

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