CONCORD, N.H. (June 20, 2012) – New Hampshire took a small stand against implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this week.

On Monday, Gov. John Lynch signed legislation into law that blocks the creation of a state run insurance exchange in New Hampshire. The exchanges serve as a foundational mechanism in the infrastructure of ObamaCare.

HB1297 declares, “No New Hampshire state agency, department, or political subdivision shall plan, create, participate in or enable a state-based exchange for health insurance under the Act, or contract with any private entity to do so.”

The new law does allow for state “interaction” with the feds if they come in and create an exchange on their own, a virtual certainty now that the state will not do it for them.

You can’t exactly put this in the same category as the last stand of the 300 Spartans, but it does represent a small step in the right direction. More states refusing to cooperate with implementation of the PPACA means more frustrations for the federal bureaucracies trying to put the plan into place. As we’ve seen with the Real ID Act, state non-cooperation can effectively nullify a federal act if enough states refuse to comply.

The fact that Lynch is a Democrat makes the move that much more interesting. The New Hampshire governor expressed support for the exchanges in the past, but it seems fiscal realities tempered his enthusiasm. Lynch actually inked his name on the bill instead of simply letting it become law without his signature, indicating he hopes to take some credit for a move many pundits think will prove politically popular.

The law will not keep the feds from setting up the insurance exchanges, and in the long run, it does nothing to stop the unconstitutional overreach that is federal health care. But Lynch’s signature reveals cracks in ObamaCare’s foundation, and fiscal realities may well do what ideological pleas cannot – force states to stand up against this massive federal overreach.

In fact, budgetary considerations drove support for HB1297. The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy led the charge to pass the law, arguing that if the feds wanted an insurance exchange in New Hampshire, they could pay for it themselves.

It will take much more than one state refusing to create an exchange to roll back the federal health care law. States must interpose in more direct and emphatic ways, ultimately nullifying the act in its entirety. Hopefully, this small act if non-cooperation by a Democratic governor foreshadows more direct push-back in the future.

Mike Maharrey

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