South Carolina House Passes Obamacare ‘resistance’ bill

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obamacare — House Republicans pushed through a bill Thursday that would ban state employees from carrying out provisions of the Affordable Care Act and empower the state’s attorney general to take action against violators.

The bill passed 65-34 along party lines. Critics say it is a hollow attempt to skirt a federal law that has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The House is expected to give the bill a final, perfunctory approval next week.

Supporters insist the proposal is not an effort to nullify federal law. Instead, they say it is “resistance to the Affordable Care Act,” according to state Greg Delleney, R-Chester, one of about three dozen sponsors.

An earlier version of the bill, sponsored by state Rep. Bill Chumley, R-Spartanburg, would have nullified Obamacare, and imposed felony and misdemeanor penalties on anyone who helped carry out any of its provisions. However, Chumley became embroiled in controversy after he authorized using a state-owned plane to bring a conservative pundit to Columbia from Washington, D.C., to testify at a subcommittee hearing. Some House members also raised concerns about his proposal’s penalties and outright rejection of federal law.

In response, the House Judiciary Committee worked out a proposal that it says limits the bill’s scope only to those parts of the health-care law that the state deems unconstitutional, Delleney said, comparing it to “resistance” by states to a national identification card. The bill also only affects “state actors,” not federal employees.

The bill would prohibit the state or any of its political subdivisions, including local governments or schools boards, from forming or participating in state health-insurance exchanges. It also would give tax deductions to individuals or businesses equal to the amount of any federal taxes or penalties that they have to pay for not complying with the health-care law’s requirements, including buying health insurance or providing it to employees.

The deductions would cost the state $2.6 million — a small cost to help those who opt out of buying insurance, Delleney said.

The bill would also empower the state attorney general to take action against any person or entity who harms the state by carrying out the Affordable Care Act. Supporters say that would block health-care “rationing panels,” for instance — boards intended to reduce health-care costs that some fear will result in the government limiting the medical treatments that patients can receive.

In the spirit of nullifying federal law, Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, proposed two amendments that would legalize marijuana in South Carolina.

Both failed.

After the bill passed, Rutherford said it “amounts to nothing.”

Rutherford said bill’s only impact would come if the state’s Republican attorney general, Alan Wilson of Lexington, brought court action to block health-insurance companies, like Blue Cross Blue Shield, from complying with the health-care law. But that will not happen, Rutherford predicted, because the bill makes legal action optional, and “the attorney general of this state has sense.”

Next week, the bill will go to the S.C. Senate.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2013/04/25/2742543/sc-house-passes-obamacare-resistance.html#storylink=cpy

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