A bill that would make it extremely difficult for the federal government to enforce the Obamacare insurance mandate in Missouri recently passed through a state house committee.
House Bill 1314 (HB1314) would ban Missouri from taking any action that would “compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system.” That means the state would be banned, by law, from operating a health care exchange for the federal government. The bill would also bar any state cooperation with efforts to enforce the tax/penalty provision in the ACA.
The House Rules Committee voted “do pass” on Apr. 14.
HB1314 modifies the “Health Care Freedom Act” passed by Missouri voters in 2010. SB546 restates Missouri’s public policy that allows its citizens to choose or decline any mode of healthcare without facing penalties and fines and bars the State from implementing and operating a health care exchange. It imposes a suspension of license to sell insurance in Missouri if the insurer accepts any payment that would “result in the imposition of penalties contrary to the public policy set forth” and requires the State’s Attorney General to file actions against any insurer violating this public policy.
No public official, employee, or agent of the state of Missouri or any of its political subdivisions, nor any law or rule, shall act to impose, collect, enforce, or effectuate, directly or indirectly, any penalty in the state of Missouri that violates the public policy set forth in this section or section 1.330. It violates the public policy set forth in this section for any such individuals, laws, or rules to implement or operate a health insurance exchange under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Finally, any insurance company operating in Missouri that “accepts any remuneration that may result in the imposition of penalties contrary to the public policy set forth in this section or section 1.330” could lose it license to do business in the state.
While the bill doesn’t go all the way in refusing state cooperation with the implementation of Obamacare in Missouri, it would certainly create obstacles for the feds. If enough states refuse to cooperate, it will eventually cause the system to collapse, effectively repealing the act.
Based on the long-standing principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, the legislation is on strong legal grounds. In four major cases from 1842 to 2012, the Supreme Court has consistently held that the federal government cannot “commandeer” states, requiring them to enforce or expend resources to participate in federal law or regulatory programs.
HB1314 has companion legislation in the state senate, SB546. That bill passed through its committee as well and is now awaiting a vote from the full senate. HB1314 and SB546 could be voted upon any time now so it is important that legislators are alerted of their duty to support these bills as quickly as possible.
In Missouri: Take steps to support anti-Obamacare legislation HERE.
Other States: Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation. Model bills and contact info HERE.