The Mississippi State Legislature is considering bills that would effectively cripple the implementation of the Affordable Care Act within the state.
Following the lead of South Carolina, Georgia and other states, Mississippi State Rep. Mark Formby (R-108) filed HB647 to establish the Health Care Freedom Act. A companion bill, SB2364, was introduced by Sen. Michael Watson (R-51) as well. These bills represent a key part of the 4 Step Plan to Defeat Obamacare offered on our website.
HB647 would ban Mississippi from taking any action that would “compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system, including a health care insurance plan.” That means the state would be banned by law from operating a health care exchange for the federal government.
The bill also says that ‘the government may not interfere with a person’s right to purchase health insurance or with a person’s right to refuse to purchase health insurance. The government may not enact a law that would restrict these rights or that would impose a form of punishment for exercising either of these rights.’ SB2364 contains similar language.
Following significant portions of the Tenth Amendment Center’s four-step plan to nullify Obamacare on a state-level, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano noted that such actions were not just legal, but effective.
“If enough states do this, it will gut Obamacare because the federal government doesn’t have the resources … to go into each of the states if they start refusing,” he said.
The CATO Institute’s Director of health policy studies Michael Cannon pretty much agrees with Judge Napolitano’s assessment saying, “In order to operate an exchange, state employees would have to determine eligibility for ObamaCare’s “premium assistance tax credits.” Those tax credits trigger penalties against employers (under the employer mandate) and residents (under the individual mandate). In addition, state employees would have to determine whether employers’ health benefits are “affordable.” A negative determination results in fines against the employer. These are key functions of an exchange.
Ergo, if the state passes a law establishing an exchange, then that law would violate the state’s constitution by indirectly compelling employers and individual residents to participate in a health care system. That sort of law seems precisely what the Constitutional Amendment exists to prevent.”
Based on the long-standing principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, both pieces of legislation are founded upon strong legal grounds. In four major cases from 1842 to 2012, the Supreme Court has consistently held that the federal government cannot “commandeer” states, requiring them to enforce or expend resources to participate in federal law or regulatory programs.
HB647 has been moved to the House Insurance Committee while SB2364 has been moved to the Senate Insurance Committee. These bills will have to pass their committees with a majority vote before the full chambers are given the opportunity to pass the bills.