South Carolina House Makes|Implementing Obamacare a Crime

     (CN) – South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill criminalizing implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last year.
     The bill, which the state House approved Wednesday by a vote of 65-39, declares the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “null and void.” If passed by the state Senate and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley, the law will be called the Freedom of Health Care Protection Act.
     Supporters of the bill say that the U.S. Supreme Court erred in upholding a key provision of the health care law that imposes penalties on eligible citizens who choose not to purchase health insurance.
     The minimum-coverage provision, more popularly known as the individual mandate, is set to take effect in 2014. It empowers the Internal Revenue Service to collect the penalty with an individual’s taxes, just as it would collect a penalty against those who overstate their income tax refunds.
     A section of the South Carolina bill, which had 27 co-sponsors, states that the Supreme Court’s endorsement of health care reform’s constitutionality “directly contravenes Article 1, Section 1 of the United States Constitution.”
     The majority of the justices upheld the law by “recharacterizing the act as a tax even thought Congress specifically refused to identify it as a tax,” the bill continues.
     It says “the United States Supreme Court legislated new law in violation of Article 1, Section 1 of the United States Constitution.”
     Further, the bill states, “the assumption of power that the federal government has made by enacting the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’ interferes with the right of the people of the State of South Carolina to regulate health care as they see fit and makes a mockery of James Madison’s assurance in Federalist #45 that the ‘powers delegated’ to the federal government are ‘few and defined’, while those of the states are ‘numerous and indefinite.'”
     South Carolina and any of its political subdivisions are prohibited under the new bill from establishing a health care exchange – a key mechanism of the Affordable Care Act.
     “A health insurance contract purchased or established in violation of this section is void and must not be enforced by the courts of this state,” the bill states.
     It also establishes criminal penalties and civil liability for those who engage in activities that aid in the Affordable Care Act’s implementation, enabling the state attorney general to initiate proceedings whenever he has “reasonable cause” to believe “a person or business is being harmed” by it.
     It adds: “Whenever the court issues a permanent injunction in connection with an action, which has become final, the court shall award reasonable costs to the State.”
     The passage of the bill is just the latest salvo in South Carolina’s opposition to the administration’s health care reforms.
     Gov. Haley told attendees of the Conservative Political Act Conference in March that she flatly opposes an expansion of Medicaid insurance in the state under a joint federal and state program that is part of the administration’s health care reform plan.
     “Not in South Carolina,” Haley said. “We will not expand Medicaid ever.”
     The bill has been referred to the state Senate’s finance committee.
     A number of lawsuits pertaining to other portions of Obama’s ambitious reform are still pending nationwide.
     Among these are actions by employers who claim that the Affordable Care Act violates their right to religious freedom by forcing them to cover their employees’ contraceptive needs.

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