The effort to stop Obamacare in Georgia continues with a brand new strategy.
After the initial House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on HB707, sponsor Rep. Jason Spencer and other supporters began looking at ways to address concerns brought up about the language in the bill. Prior to a second hearing last week, Spencer and House leadership met behind closed doors and hammered out a new approach that will likely garner the support necessary to move the bill forward.
Constitutional attorney Bruce Fein was instrumental in developing the new bill language. Fein served as an associate deputy attorney general under Pres. Reagan and commands a great deal of respect in Republican circles, important in the GOP dominated Georgia legislature.
The new version of HB707 will continue to rest on the anti-commandeering doctrine. But instead of a blanket prohibition on any cooperation with implementation of Obamacare that many considered too vague, the bill requires Georgia legislative approval for any application of state resources to the implementation of Obamacare. The bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to request state assistance, and then the Georgia legislature would retain the option to approve or reject the request. Absent specific approval, the state would not provide any material support for the implementation of the ACA.
Powers, assets, officers, employees, agents, or contractors of the state, including the University System of Georgia and its member institutions, or any political subdivision, municipality, or other local government authority shall be authorized to assist in implementing the provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 that have been designated by the federal Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives and the President of the Georgia Senate as requiring the assistance of the resources designated in this subsection as of July 1, 2015; provided, however, that none of the designated provisions shall be implemented with the utilization of state resources unless approved by an Act of the General Assembly.
Simply put, if this bill passes, Georgia will not lift a finger to help implement Obamacare absent specific legislative approval of each individual request for assistance.
The bill retains the language explicitly prohibiting the establishment of a state exchange, and it prohibits the state from administering, conducting or operating a navigator program.
Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin called it a brilliant approach, noting that it might prove more disruptive to Obamacare implementation than the original bill. Not only does it block state cooperation without express approval from the Georgia legislature, something that will prove difficult if not impossible to obtain, it will also bog the federal government down in a process of having to ask for assistance for every act of cooperation. The feds will have to make a request for assistance for each individual provision of Obamacare requiring state agents or resources, and then they will have to wait for approval that will likely never come.
The new language puts the state in the driver’s seat and forces the federal government to acknowledge it cannot simply commandeer or coerce the state into helping. Of course, the feds can always implement the whole program themselves in Georgia, but we know the federal government lacks the resources. The whole health care act hinges on state cooperation.
“This is the essence of our strategy to nullify Obamacare – bog it down and make it collapse,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said. “The idea is to deny state cooperation. This new language still does that. And it does it in a brilliant way. It is not only going to take away state resources the feds depended on, it will force them to use even more resources trying to get the help the need.”
Recent numbers released by the CBO indicate that unless stopped, the ACA will wreak havoc on the U.S. economy. The report indicates Obamacare will reduce employment by as many as 2.5 million workers. Those still working will find their wages reduced.
“CBO estimates that the ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017-2024 period, compared with what it would have been otherwise.”
In other words, workers get a 1 percent pay cut. According to a column by MarcThiessen in the Washington Post, the translates to about $70 billion in lost wages. Thiessen says most of that wage loss will come out of the pockets of working class Americans.
Obamacare must be stopped. Congress won’t do it. The states must.
In Georgia: Take steps to support HB707 HERE.
Other States: Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation. Model bills and contact info HERE.