Yesterday, by a vote of 50-17-3, the Idaho house of representatives passed House Bill 298 (HB298), what some pundits are calling the “son of nullification” bill.

The bill states:

The power to require or regulate a person’s choice in the mode of securing health care services, require employers to provide health insurance coverage to their employees, determine the content of health insurance policies, or limit the construction or expansion of hospital or medical facilities or to impose a penalty related thereto, is not found in the Constitution of the United States of America, and is therefore a power reserved to the people pursuant to the Ninth Amendment, and to the several states pursuant to the Tenth Amendment.

Earlier this legislative session, a similar bill with stronger wording (specifically including language to make null and void the Patient Protection and affordable care act), passed the House by a wide margin but was rejected by a Senate committee and not allowed a floor vote.

In response, Representative Vito Barbieri and 21 co-sponsors introduced this new bill in an effort to get some legislation passed to combat federal health care mandates on the state level. The focus of HB298 is noncompliance with “discretionary provisions” in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — those portions of the 2010 federal law not specifically required or which don’t take effect before June 30, 2012.

From the text of the bill:

(2) No department, agency or political subdivision of the state of Idaho shall establish any program, promulgate any rule, policy, guideline or plan or change any program, rule, policy or guideline to implement discretionary provisions of the PPACA.

(3) No department, agency or political subdivision, public officer or employee of the state of Idaho shall enter into any agreement or any obligation to implement discretionary provisions of the PPACA.

Nullification – any act or set of actions which render a particular federal law unenforceable in a state – can take on many forms. For example:

–In the 1850’s, a number of Northern States took action to block implementation of the federal fugitive slave act, rendering that law so difficult to enforce that when South Carolina seceded a few years later, their top complaint was about northern state actions to nullify slave laws.

–Since 2007, 25 states have refused to comply with the Real ID act, and the federal government has had to repeatedly delay implementation of the act.

–Fifteen states, most recently Arizona, now have active medical marijuana programs in defiance of both Congress and the Supreme Court. While DC occasionally exerts power over this issue, it generally cannot due to the large number of people and states resisting.

While this bill doesn’t include penalties on federal agents for attempting for enforce the PPACA like similar state bills do, the end result, like states refusing compliance with marijuana laws and real ID, could be an effective nullification of the federal act as well.


The Tenth Amendment Center has released the Federal Health Care Nullification Act, which directly nullifies the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” on a state level. Click here to learn more about the bill. CLICK HERE to track the Nullification Act in states around the country.

Michael Boldin

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



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