Oklahoma Rep.Mike Ritze has introduced legislation that would essentially gut the implementation of Obamacare in the Sooner State.

HB2421 declares that “an agency, officer, or employee of the state shall not…engage in an activity that aids any person in the enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

The bill would also permanently bar Oklahoma 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.

While HB2421 addresses actions of the state and does not actively interfere with any federal agents, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano suggested that doing more wouldn’t be needed. Recognizing the inability of the federal government to enforce the Affordable Care Act without assistance and participation on a state level, Napolitano said doing this in a number of states would “gut Obamacare.”

Similar legislation has already been introduced in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana and elsewhere. Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said that this could create a formidable bloc, pulling the rug out from under the already flailing federal act. “If five states pass something like this, they’re going to be paying attention,” he said. “And if ten or fifteen do it? It’s game over for Obamacare.”

Maharrey also noted that the bill was on sound legal footing. “There is no dispute, the states do not have to help the feds carry out their laws or regulatory programs,” he said.

The legal principle behind this statement is the anti-commandeering doctrine, upheld by the supreme court in four major cases from 1842 to 2012. The most famous was the 1997 Printz case where Sheriffs Mack and Printz won a case which held that the states could not be “commandeered” into carrying out federal gun laws.

From the majority opinion, “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-by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”

Maharrey urged the states to take action, noting that the federal government relies on them for help.  “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.”

Once the legislative session begins in February, HB2421 will first be assigned to a committee where it will need to pass by majority vote before being considered by the full state House.

In Oklahoma: 
Take steps to support HB2421 HERE.

Other States:  Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation.  Model bills and contact info HERE.

William Kennedy

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