INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 15, 2015) – A bill introduced in the Indiana legislature yesterday would strike a significant blow to implementation of Obamacare in the state.
The legislation would prohibit any agency of the state from assisting in the enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It also bans the creation of an insurance exchange in the state and provides relief for Indiana residents charged with a tax penalty under the PPACA.
Rep. Timothy Harman authored HB1479, and Rep. Curt Nisly and Rep. Ben Smaltz signed on as cosponsors.
HB1479 would hinder federal enforcement of the individual and the employer mandates, and would essentially halt further implementation of the massive health care program by prohibiting the state from “engaging in any activity that aids any person in enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
While not nullification in the commonly-understood John Calhoun, South Carolina-style approach from the 1830s, some call the approach “nullification in practice” because it would have significant impact on the enforcement of Obamacare in the state.
The federal government depends on state assistance to run the Obamacare system. Fox News Senior Legal Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has said that this action taken by a number of states would “gut Obamacare.” James Madison, writing in Federalist #46, said that such a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” would create effective roadblocks to stop implementation of federal acts.
“The federal government can barely manage running a website,” Mike Maharrey, national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center said. “If Indiana withdraws all material support and resources from the implementation of Obamacare, this will effectively pull the rug out from under it in practice.”
Maharrey noted that the legislation would ban the Indiana Department of Insurance from investigating or enforcing violations of federally mandated health insurance requirements and said this will “prove particularly problematic for the federal government.”
Insurance commissioners serve as the enforcement arm for insurance regulation in the states. The federal government has no enforcement arm. The feds assumed the state insurance commissioners would enforce all of the provisions of the ACA.
So, when people have issues with their mandated coverage, they will have to call the feds. At this point, it remains unclear who they will even call should the IDOI be prohibited from carrying out this essential task. Issues the state insurance department would not address include prohibiting a denial of insurance for preexisting conditions, requiring dependent coverage for children up to age 26, and proscribing lifetime or yearly dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits.
Finally, the bill would provide relief to Indiana resident who paid a tax penalty under the Obamacare law but allowing taxpayers to deduct the amount form their adjusted gross income on their state taxes.
HB1479 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, where it will need to pass by a majority vote before the full House has an opportunity to consider it.
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