JACKSON, Miss. (Feb. 12, 2016) – A Mississippi bill would end virtually all state cooperation with the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare, taking a huge step toward effectively nullifying the federal health care program within the state.

Sen. Michael Watson (R-Pascagoula) introduced Senate Bill 2543 (SB2543) on Feb. 8. The legislation would prohibit any state agency, political subdivision, corporation doing business on behalf of the state, and their employees in their official capacity from enforcing any federal act, law, order, rule or regulation designed to give effect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It would also bar all material support, participation and assistance in any form with enforcement of any such act, and prohibit the use of any state assets, state funds, or funds allocated to local entities for the same.

The legislation also features stiff penalties for violation of the law. Agencies or political subdivisions would forfeit all state grant money in the following year. State or local government employees would “be deemed to have resigned any commission from the State of Mississippi which he or she may possess, his or her office shall be deemed vacant, and he or she shall be forever thereafter ineligible to any office of trust, honor or emolument under the laws of this state.” And corporations violating the act would be ineligible for future state contracts.

If passed into law, SB2543 would effectively end all state cooperation Obamacare. The federal government depends heavily on state assistance to implement and enforce many aspects of the so-called Affordable Care Act. As a result, the legislation would virtually shut down the federal health care program in Mississippi from a practical standpoint.

For example, under the proposed law the Mississippi Insurance Department would no longer investigate or punish any violations of federally mandated health insurance requirements. This would prove extremely problematic for the federal government.State insurance commissioners and departments serve as the enforcement arm for insurance regulations in the states. If SB2543 passes, Mississippians having issues with their mandated coverage will have to call the feds because disputes about these mandates arise under federal, not state law. The federal Department of Health and Human Services can’t commandeer the Mississippi Insurance Department and force it to investigate alleged violations of PPACA mandates. Congress passed a law and failed to establish any enforcement mechanism.

SB2543 would also prohibit the creation or operation of a state health insurance exchange under the ACA. Mississippi declined to create an exchange as Obamacare initially went into effect, but that does not mean a future governor won’t takes action to establish one. Creating a legislative prohibition would make it much harder to do.

Shifting the burden for health insurance exchanges to the feds helps overwhelm the implementation of Obamacare. Some analysts suggest that the feds only have the capacity to do so in 30-40 states over the long term, and any more than that will help collapse the system.

These are just two of the many ways the federal government depends on state personnel and resources to implement and run Obamacare.

SB2543 follows the blueprint the “Father of the Constitution,” created for resisting federal power. In Federalist 46 James Madison outlined several steps that states can take to effectively stop “an unwarrantable measure,” or “even a warrantable measure” of the federal government. Madison called for “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” as a way to successfully thwart federal acts.

A similar law went into effect in Arizona last year.


SB2543 rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. 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 policy making 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.”


SB2543 will be referred to the Senate Medicaid Committee. It will need to pass committee by a majority vote before moving on to the full Senate for consideration.

If you live in Mississippi: click HERE to and follow the steps to help pass SB2543

If you live in another state: click HERE to fight Obamacare in your state.

Mike Maharrey

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