On January 8, 2013, S.C. legislators and citizens gathered on the state capitol steps to announce a bill that would nullify the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly known as Obamacare. During this historic event, Sen. Tom Davis gave a speech invoking John C. Calhoun, a famous politician from South Carolina, and praised him for defending states’ rights and being the pioneer of the nullification movement in 1828.
Calhoun cited the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution as justification for states to nullify (invalidate) federal laws that encroached on states’ rights. Calhoun wrote, The Tariff of Abomination, which protested the Tariff of 1828 because it favored northern manufacturing over southern commerce and agriculture. Obamacare, the largest tax in US history, is just as controversial as the Tariff of 1828 because many Americans feel that it was pushed on them by the Democrats behind closed doors.
Many associate Calhoun with slavery, but few realize that northern abolitionists appealed to the South Carolina senator’s ideas to defend their resistance of the draconian Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, sometimes even evoking Calhoun by name.
Today, South Carolinians are fighting back against the federal government and have resurrected the “Calhoun Doctrine” of nullification. Many legislators are citing the Tenth Amendment to nullify Obamacare because it will burden S.C. with unfunded liabilities, increase taxes and unemployment, hinder economic growth, forge conflicts between doctors and their patients, and encroach on religious freedom.
Obamacare will require states to expand Medicaid coverage to individuals and families that make up to 133 percent of the poverty line. This healthcare coverage would insure approximately 485,000 in S.C., but many opponents of Obamacare question how S.C. can afford Medicaid expansion when the state already struggles paying for the current Medicaid program. Obamacare will force S.C. to make aggressive cuts in education, law enforcement, and public works. It will also force massive tax increases on the middle class who already suffer under the increased 2013 Obama payroll tax.
Gov. Nikki Haley states that S.C. would be required to raise 1 billion dollars in revenue for the next decade in order to get federal Medicaid funding. This is money S.C. does not have and will eventually bankrupt the state. Fortunately, in 2012, the SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare allows states to opt out of healthcare exchanges without losing current Medicaid funding. Gov. Nikki Haley is one of the 17 governors who stated she would opt out of state healthcare exchanges under Obamacare; however, many South Carolinians feel that opting out in not enough.
Under Obamacare, businesses with 50 employees or more must provide insurance or be faced with heavy fines. Obamacare will cause labor prices to increase, lower the demand for workers, and increase unemployment. Many employers will avoid hiring full time employees and will lay off additional workers to get under the 50 employee threshold to avoid paying for insurance. Not only is Obamacare a bad deal for workers and employers, it is also bad for healthcare.
Critics claim that Obamacare in not about healthcare, it’s about control. Obamacare puts the relationship of the patient and physician under the jurisdiction of the government. This means more government control and less patient choice. Under Obamacare, healthcare will be rationed, healthcare costs will increase, and bureaucrats will decide medical treatments instead of the physician and patient. Rep. Bill Cassidy states that Medicaid expansion is “the illusion of access without the power of care.”
Obamacare also trumps religious freedom. Hobby Lobby is the largest company to defy Obamacare on religious grounds and faces $1.3 million fines a day for not providing emergency birth control which goes against their religious convictions.
In order for S.C. to experience liberty and prosperity, legislators must nullify Obamacare and opt out of healthcare exchanges. The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, S. 102, would nullify Obamacare and make it a felony punishable up to 5 years for anyone who tries to enforce it. Nullifying Obamacare will help S.C. continue to find ways to help lower the costs of healthcare and find ways to insure people without bankrupting the state. Most low income families are not looking for handouts from the government. They want the dignity of making a living for themselves in order to raise families and pay for their own health insurance. Compassion is not robbing from one family and giving it to another family, nor is it compassionate to redistribute wealth to trap families into government dependency. Government can help low income families by encouraging job creation by removing obstacles that stand in the way of businesses and economic growth. Instead of robbing its citizens through taxation, government should reform environmental regulations and cut the corporate tax rate that will give companies incentives to hire more workers. Low income families do not want more government programs, they want good jobs.
In 2009, Obama pledged that “no family making less than 250K will see any form of tax increase, not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not you capital gains tax, not any of your taxes.” In 2013, we know this was just another lie, and many in SC are standing against the regressive tax of Obamacare. The “Calhoun Doctrine” of nullification can be used as a catalytic mechanism to force change in Washington, and can be used as a weapon to stop government encroachment on our religious liberty, property rights, choice in healthcare, and economic freedoms.
Joshua Cook currently lives with his wife and son in Travelers Rest, S.C.