Late Monday evening, the Georgia State House of Representatives passed HB707, which bans the state participating in significant portions of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The vote was 115-59.
Representative Jason Spencer introduced HB707, The Georgia Health Care Freedom and ACA Noncompliance Act. Spencer also had five co-sponsors to the bill.
According to Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin, “While Georgia can’t fully stop Obamacare on its own, it can serve as a pretty major roadblock to implementation,” he said. “And as more states get on board with this strategy, it will pull the rug out from under it. Bills like this will end Obamacare from the bottom up.”
HB707 specifically provides the following bans:
- Prohibits any state agencies, departments or political subdivisions from using resources or spending funds to advocate for the expansion of Medicaid. This provision works hand-in-hand with HB990 to make it more difficult to expand Medicaid. HB990 would require legislative approval for expansion of the program, barring the governor from doing it by executive order.
- Prohibits the state of Georgia from running an insurance exchange.
- Refuses and federal grant money for the purpose of creating or running a state insurance exchange.
- Ends the University of Georgia Health Navigator Program.
- Prohibits the Commissioner of Insurance from investigating or enforcing any alleged violation of federal health insurance requirements mandated by Obamacare.
Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said, “While Georgia can’t fully stop Obamacare on its own, it can serve as a pretty major roadblock to implementation. And as more states get on board with this strategy, it will pull the rug out from under it. Bills like this will end Obamacare from the bottom up.”
Judge Andrew Napolitano agrees. Regarding South Carolina’s push to remove Obamacare from being implemented in the Palmetto state, Napolitano said, “If Enough States do this, It will Gut Obamacare.”
The Tenth Amendment center also points out:
The provision prohibiting the Georgia insurance commissioner from investigating or enforcing violations of federally mandated health insurance requirements will prove particularly problematic for the feds. Insurance commissioners serve as the enforcement arm for insurance regulation in the states. The federal government has no enforcement arm. It 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. Issues the Georgia insurance commissioner will 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.
Rep. Spencer said, “Disputes over these mandates arise under federal, not state law. The federal Department of Health and Human Services can be expected to seek to commandeer the machinery of Georgia’s commissioner of insurance to enforce them or to investigate alleged violations because at present there is no federal health insurance agency and Congress is not likely to create one given the substantial opposition to Obamacare. Under HB707, the feds won’t be able to do that. They’ll have to figure out how to do it themselves.”
The legislation rests on a little known ruling by the Supreme Court referred to as the anti-commandeering doctrine.
Georgia is one of eleven states engaged in some form of nullification of Obamacare.
As I have pointed out before, nullification is a good thing, but it requires more, should the federal government seek to show a use of force and make an example of one state. That would require interposition, or the state stepping in and making it a crime to enforce federal laws that are deemed unconstitutional by the state. For nullification with teeth, I suggest taking a look at Albany, New York’s nullification of NDAA.
The bill will now move to the Senate.
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