A bill was filed in the Missouri state house that would suspend the licenses of insurance carriers who accept federal subsidies through the federally-run Obamacare exchange, potentially nullifying the ability of the federal government to carry out the mandate, or even operate the exchange in the state.
Introduced by State Rep. Keith Frederick (R-121), House Bill 601 (HB601) would strengthen initiatives already on the books in Missouri. It contains much of the same language as Senate Bill 51 (SB51), which was introduced by newly-elected State Sen. Bob Onder (R-2). These bills give the Show-Me State two great opportunities to push back against Obamacare.
HB601 states that “no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system.”
In addition, “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… 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.”
The bill definitively re-affirms Missouri sovereignty by listing the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution as its basis:
The power to require or regulate a person’s choice in the mode of securing health care services, 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. The state of Missouri hereby exercises its sovereign power to declare the public policy of the state of Missouri regarding the right of all persons residing in this state in choosing the mode of securing health care services;
HOW THE BILL WOULD WORK
Under Obamacare, if a business doesn’t purchase a government-approved level of health benefits for its employees, some of those workers might be eligible to purchase subsidized coverage through a health insurance “exchange,” which, in Missouri, is operated by the federal government. From there, the IRS would give subsidies to the insurance companies on behalf of those workers, which triggers penalties against the employer. Businesses with 100 employees can face penalties as high as $140,000.
As is the controversy in a case known as Halbig v Burwell, Congress authorized those subsides, and therefore those penalties, only in states that establish a health insurance Exchange. For those states, like Missouri, that defer the exchange to the federal government, Obamacare provides that there are no subsidies and therefore no penalties against employers.
Unsurprisingly, the IRS has pushed ahead and will implement those subsidies in the 36 states that have refused to establish exchanges. HB601 would create a serious roadblock for the IRS if passed in Missouri.
In his paper, 50 Vetoes: How States Can Stop the Obama Health Care Law, Michael Cannon of the CATO Institute gives more details about how such legislation would work:
With such a law, states could block the IRS from imposing illegal taxes on its employers and residents, and even prevent the federal government from operating an Exchange within the state.
Carriers would know that the moment they accepted one of the IRS’s illegal subsidies, state law would prohibit them from writing any new business in that state. Moreover, since they would no longer be licensed and in good standing with the state, they would no longer qualify under the PPACA as an issuer of “qualified health plans.” The PPACA itself would then preclude them from writing new business or receiving subsidies through any Exchanges nationwide, for as long as the suspension remained in place. Without the (illegal) subsidies, consumers and carriers would have no reason to participate in a federal Exchange.
States could thus free their employers from the employer mandate even if the Obama administration attempts to impose its proposed illegal taxes. Employers face those tax penalties only if one of their employees enrolls in “a qualified health plan with respect to which an applicable premium tax credit . . . is allowed.” Under a strengthened Health Care Freedom Act, employers could not be penalized because the health plan would cease to be a qualified health plan the moment the issuer accepted a penaltytriggering subsidy. As important, carriers simply will not offer those plans if it means they will be barred from writing new business in that state and through state and federal Exchanges nationwide.
The fight against Obamacare is not over. Bills such as HB601 can make the wheels fall off of the unpopular health care overhaul before it can be fully implemented. HB601 will first be assigned to a committee where it will need to passed before the full state house can consider it.
In Missouri, support this legislation by following all the steps at THIS LINK
ALL OTHER STATES, Push back against Obamacare in your state at this link.