Together, three bills introduced in the Arkansas legislature would take the first two important steps toward nullifying Obamacare in the state.

Sponsored by Sen. Jim Hendren, SB343 would prohibit the establishment of a state insurance exchange under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Arkansas. HB1262 and its Senate companion(SB144)would terminate Medicaid expansion in Arkansas and repeal the Health Care Independence Act Of 2013.

Arkansas took a unique approach to Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. The Health Care Independence Act Of 2013 allows eligible individuals to purchase private insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM). Federal funding pays what are commonly called “private option,” premiums.

SB144 and HB1262 would completely end the program and terminate medicaid expansion. Rep. Josh Miller [R] and Sen. Bryan King [R] sponsor the House version and Sen. Linda Collins-Smith [R] sponsors the Senate version.

The Strategy

These bills make up the first two steps in the Tenth Amendment Center plan to bring Obamacare to its knees.

States were “given an option” – run an insurance exchange, partner with the feds on running it, or leave it to DC to figure out.  It doesn’t matter what “cards we were dealt” – as some governors are saying.  Running an unconstitutional program for the feds is just plain wrong.  And the first – and easiest – thing for states to do is to just say no. Shifting the burden for health insurance exchanges to the feds effectively sabotages the implementation of Obamacare. SB343 does just that.

Ending Medicare expansion represents the second step.

During the Obamacare case before the Supreme Court, Rob Natelson and his colleagues at the Independence Institute argued that the law’s provisions forcing the states to expand Medicaid were unconstitutional. Neither the Constitution nor case law, they pointed out, permits the federal government to use federal spending programs to coerce the states.  Seven of the nine justices agreed with them, essentially adopting the arguments advanced in their brief.

As a result, the states may consider freely whether or not to accept additional federal funds for the Medicaid expansion. Accepting federal funds might seem to bring the states short-term fiscal benefits. But the fiscal risks of doing so are very great—perhaps eventual bankruptcy.  Arkansas took a step down that path, but the legislature has the opportunity to undo things before it causes irreparable damage.

Financial and practical matters aside, helping the federal government run an unconstitutional program by participating in it on a state level is just plain wrong.

If the Arkansas legislature passes this legislation, it will set the stage for additional steps, including blocking illegal IRS taxes and prohibiting the state insurance commissioner from enforcing federal health care provisions. In 2013, Judge Andrew Napolitano said “a number of states following this plan would gut Obamacare.”

HB1262 will need to pass successfully through the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee while SB144 and SB343 will need to pass through the Senate Public Health, Welfare And Labor Committee before the bills can receive full votes in their respective chambers.

In Arkansas, click HERE  for steps to help pass SB343, SB144 and HB1262

In other states click HERE.

Mike Maharrey

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