Tennessee lawmakers will consider legislation that would essentially gut the implementation of Obamacare in the Volunteer State.
Sen. Mae Beavers (R – Mt. Juliet) and Rep.Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) announced Monday that they will sponsor bills to resist implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Tennessee. Based on similar legislation already introduced in Georgia (HB707) and model legislation drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center, SB1680 and its House companion bill would prohibit any cooperation by the state or its agencies in implementing or administering the federal health care program.
No powers, assets, employees, agents or contractors of the state, including any institution under control of the University of Tennessee or the Tennessee board of regents, or any political subdivision, municipality or other local government entity shall be used to assist in implementing the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or any subsequent federal amendment to such act.
The bill would also permanently bar Tennessee from setting up a state-run insurance exchange, prohibit any state or state subdivision from purchasing insurance from an exchange set up by a non-profit and block the state from conducting involuntary home inspections under the act.
“The federal government does not have constitutional authority to commandeer state and local governments to enforce or implement these federal healthcare mandates,” Beavers said. “It’s time that Tennessee says no to assisting them in the implementation of this disastrous program. This legislation takes a very strong stand to resist this federal overreach of power.”
Twenty cosponsors have already signed on to the Senate bill.
Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey says the idea is to cause the entire federal system to collapse so it can be replaced with a decentralized system at the state level.
“The federal government has no constitutional authority to create or run a national health care system. On top of that, why would you want them to? Why would you want a monopoly on healthcare, any more than you would want a monopoly on grocery sales? Especially a monopoly run by an entity as incompetent as the federal government,” he said. “We know the feds counted on the states to do the heavy lifting. We know the number of states refusing to create exchanges created problems. If enough states simply say, ‘No,’ this monstrosity will collapse under its own weight.”
“This action, especially in conjunction with similar steps being taken in other states, has the effect of nullifying ObamaCare,” he said. “If the feds cannot even build an appropriate website or keep their promises to consumers, they will be extremely hard-pressed to implement the other provisions for this program within our boundaries.”
That the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce and federal act or program is well-established in the law, and the Tennessee bill rests on this legal foundation known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone.
“The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policymaking is involved, and no case-bycase weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”
“There is no question that this bill sits on sound legal footing,” Maharrey said. “So, let’s focus the debate on whether or not the people of Tennessee want Obamacare. After witnessing the website debacle, watching people who wanted to keep their insurance lose it and knowing that’s only the beginning of the government-created chaos to come, I’m guessing they don’t.”
Senator Tom Davis in South Carolina will reportedly move to amend that state’s proposed Obamacare nullification bill to look more like pending legislation in Georgia and Tennessee. Maharrey said if enough states get on board, they can force an end to the health care act.
“Bottom line: the feds need the states to make this work. If the states refuse, as is their right, D.C. will be forced to abandon this horrible plan. It needs to be stopped. Now is the time. This is the way.”
In Tennessee: Take steps to support SB1680 HERE
Other States: Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation. Model bills and contact info HERE.
Media Contact: Mike Maharrey