In response to a citizen petition of 34,000 signatures, four Georgia lawmakers have drafted HB 707 to nullify the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Representatives Jason Spencer, David Stover, Michael Caldwell and Scot Turner held a press conference on Dec. 16 to discuss the bill and request support.
HB 707 authorizes Georgia’s Attorney General and State Council to work with other states to resist the ACA. It bans the State from participating in health insurance exchanges and other intrusive elements such as involuntary maternal-infant in-home visitations. It does not directly address the constitutionality of Obamacare, but simply states that Georgia will not participate in implementing it.
Representative Jason Spencer is a physicians’ assistant, and his experience has convinced him the the ACA addresses neither affordability or accessibility of healthcare. He and his colleagues are interested in developing state-based solutions designed to fit the needs of Georgians rather than submitting to the economic problems that would be introduced by Obamacare. This action aligns with Georgia’s governor and speaker of the house who have stood against Medicaid expansion.
Representative David Stover provided a more statistical rationale for HB 707. In Georgia, nearly 400,000 individuals have lost coverage as of Nov. 30… of 122,543 Obamacare applications in Georgia, 87,367 were determined to be eligible for coverage. Of the 87,367, only 29,366 are eligible for assistance of some form and 10,925 eligible for Medicaid. Georgia cannot afford this.
Representative Stover declared that Obamacare is a profound over-reach of federal government. “To tax someone for simply being alive is anti-American, anti-Constitutional and anti-common sense… The federal government did not create the states; the states created the federal government.”
The focus of Representative Michael Caldwell was on nullification. He discussed his oath of office that was to the constitutions of both Georgia and the United States.
“I have to ask a very simple question when I look at any issue in the State of Georgia: Am I upholding this oath?”
And so, in challenging Obamacare, he says he is performing his sworn duty as a representative.
“I am here to protect and uphold the Constitution,” he said. “The federal takeover of healthcare in the United States is the single largest infringement upon the Constitution, upon the Tenth Amendment, upon individual rights in my lifetime, in recent history and, I would argue, in the history of our nation. HB 707 is telling the Obama Administration that if they want the ACA in Georgia, ‘You’re going to have to pay for it, you’re going to have to implement it, and don’t expect any aid from the State of Georgia in doing so.’”
Continuing the point of liberty via nullification, Representative Scot Turner reminded us that we all are empowered by the Supreme Court ruling in 2012 that the federal government cannot force states to enforce federal laws. In this case, the ACA is a questionable federal tax.
“We’re left to ask the question, ‘A tax on what exactly?’ There is no production, there is no consumption, there is no transaction of any kind. Obamacare is a tax on simply being alive.”
The message that HB 707 is meant to send to Washington is: “Georgia will not participate in the willful violation of individual liberty that is Obamacare.”
Representative Spencer clarified the contents and the intent of the bill during the Q&A session that followed. On a question as to the constitutionality of HB 707, he responded that the bill is saying to Washington that they have errantly decided that the ACA is constitutional. But, “We do not think this is a constitutional law at all and I believe the federal government should not have a monopoly on what they deem is constitutional.” Representative Spencer went on to say, “The states created the federal government and we should have say as to what is constitutional as well. We are a party to the compact. So we have our duty to uphold the constitution as well as they do.”