JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., January 13, 2014 – While the Missouri Senate considers a bill which would effectively cripple the implementation of the Affordable Care Act within the state, the House of Representatives has a bill of its own ready.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Keith Frederick understands better than most, our nation’s critical juncture in dealing with our health care system. He is an orthopedic surgeon at Phelps County Regional Medical Center. On February 9th, he announced, “Senator Lamping introduced in the Senate, SB 546 which opposes the federal government’s over reach into the lives of the private citizens of Missouri. Today I filed HB 1314 which is the House companion to his Senate bill.”
Senate Bill 546 would ban Missouri from taking any action that would “compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system.” That means the state would be banned, by law, from operating a health care exchange for the federal government. Concurrent House Bill 1314 echos that language. It also protects health care providers from the Federal government penalizing them for not participating in their exchange, if they choose to take direct payment from their customers.
“A health care provider may accept direct payment for lawful health care services and shall not be required by law or rule to pay penalties or fines for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services.”
The bill also proposes suspending the licenses of insurers who accept federal subsidies which result in the “imposition of penalties contrary to the public policy” set forth in the legislation. Since it is unlikely that any insurer would then accept a subsidy, not a single employer in the state could be hit with the employer-mandate penalties those subsidies trigger.
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.
Based on the long-standing principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, the legislation is on 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.
Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey suggested that a large-scale effort against the Act would be coming. “Our sources tell us to expect at least ten states moving in this direction in the coming months. But that will only come true if people start calling their state representatives and senators right now. State lawmakers need to know they should introduce bills to ban the state from participating in any Obamacare programs.”
Representative Fredrick knows the difficulty in getting strong legislation passed. “I have learned by my past experiences, or shall I say bruises, that getting a bill passed in the House are a long way from it becoming state law. That same idea has to get through the Senate, before it ever makes its way to the Governor’s office, and even there it can die by a stroke of the pen.”
It seems this year, he and other Missouri legislators are doing everything they can to avoid that fate.
In Missouri: Take steps to support HB1314 HERE
Other States: Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation. Model bills and contact info HERE.