South Carolina Set to Block Implementation of Obamacare

By Barbara Hollingsworth | December 24, 2013 | 11:05am EST


South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (AP photo)

( – In January, when key provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect, South Carolina’s Republican-led state Senate is scheduled to vote on fast-tracked legislation that would prohibit all state agencies, public officials and state employees from implementing the federal health care law.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who has been a vocal opponent of Obamacare, is expected to sign the South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act (H 3101), which could become a model for other states.

“We will not pursue the type of government-run health exchanges being forced on us by Washington,” Haley said in May. “Despite the rose-colored rhetoric coming out of D.C., these exchanges are nothing more than a way to make the state do the federal government’s bidding in spending massive amounts of taxpayer dollars on insurance subsidies that we can’t afford.”

The bill would forbid state employees from participating in federally mandated insurance exchanges, and reimburse individuals in the form of a state tax deduction for any federal tax penalties they incur for not buying health insurance.

The bill, which easily passed South Carolina’s House of Representatives in April on a 65-34 vote, would “render null and void certain unconstitutional laws enacted by the Congress of the United States taking control over the health insurance industry and mandating that individuals purchase health insurance under threat of penalty.”

The bill would also “prohibit certain individuals from enforcing or attempting to enforce such unconstitutional laws, and to establish criminal penalties and civil liability for violating this article.”

It also instructs the state attorney general to “bring an action” if there is “reasonable cause to believe that a person or business is being harmed by implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

State senators are also considering adding additional provisions that would outlaw Medicaid expansion and suspend the state licenses of any insurers who receive Obamacare subsidies.

Tea Party groups are already making plans to gather at the state capital next month to support the bill, which a sponsor, state Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), said will make key provisions of the Affordable Care Act inoperable in South Carolina.

“It will essentially have five components to it, all of which in my judgment are legal, effective, and within the state’s power to do,” Davis said. “Congress can pass laws, but it cannot compel the states to utilize either their treasury or personnel to implement those federal laws,” he added.

According to the 10th Amendment Center, the South Carolina bill “stands on extremely strong legal footing. The states are not required to assist the federal government. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that states can, in essence, ‘opt-out’ and leave enforcement to the federal government.”

“If enough states do this, it will gut Obamacare because the federal government doesn’t have the resources…to go into each of the states if they start refusing,” Judge Andrew Napolitano predicted earlier this month on Fox News.

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