Not really.12:36 PM, May 9, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
“South Carolina has passed a bill that criminalizes the implementation of Obama’s health care law reform law,” said HuffPost Live host Jacob Soboroff last week. The claim, from the Huffington Post and others, is that South Carolina is attempting to “nullify” Obamacare. But what the Republican-dominated South Carolina state house passed on May 1 doesn’t really nullify anything--not yet, at least. The legislation is more like a resolution, asserting that the state of South Carolina opposes the unconstitutional parts of Obamacare.
Nevertheless, the Republicans who drafted the bill seemed to have wanted to convey that nullification is exactly what they are doing. Here’s the bill’s introduction:
A bill to amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, so as to enact the "South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act" by adding Article 21 to Chapter 71, Title 38 so as to 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; to prohibit certain individuals from enforcing or attempting to enforce such unconstitutional laws; and to establish criminal penalties and civil liability for violating this article.
The the truth is that the enforceable provisions of the bill in its current form don’t render the law "null and void." As Section 2 of the bill reads, “No agency of the State, officer or employee of this State, acting on behalf of the state, may engage in an activity that aids any agency in the enforcement of those provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and any subsequent federal act that amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 that exceed the authority of the United States Constitution.”
The problem is, the bill doesn’t specify what parts of Obamacare “exceed the authority” of the Constitution. Instead, it says that the general assembly has “the absolute and sovereign authority to interpose and refuse to enforce the provisions” of Obamacare that exceed Congress’s authority. The bill's chief sponsor, Republican Bill Chumley, says the bill "will do what it says" and allow the general assembly in the future to bar the state of South Carolina from enacting the unconstitutional elements of Obamacare. What elements would those be?
"We're going to take it on a case-by-case basis," Chumley told THE WEEKLY STANDARD, adding that the legislature would possibly have to pass additional laws in order to stop the implementation of Obamacare's unconstitutional provisions. He did not name any specific parts of the federal law that are unconstitutional and said the bill is chiefly defining the state's position on Obamacare.
"Some people have said it sounds more like a resolution," Chumley said.
Of course, nullification of a federal law by a state is illegal under the courts’ interpretation of the Constitution’s supremacy clause. It stands to reason that if South Carolina ever passed such a law, the courts would strike it down. Chumley disagrees with that interpretation, saying that the supremacy of federal law over state law only applies when those federal laws are constitutional.
"Has the Constitution been changed?" Chumley said.
According to the South Carolina Policy Council, a conservative think tank in Columbia, the provision giving “absolute and sovereign authority” to the general assembly would have one important consequence: It would take away from the executive branch the authority to, say, refuse the federal money earmarked for expanding Medicaid under a provision of Obamacare and give that authority exclusively to the legislature. The state’s Republican governor, Nikki Haley, has said she opposes this Medicaid expansion. The GOP also controls both houses of the general assembly.
10:24 AM, Mar 15, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a report on its website, the credit rating firm Moody's pushes for Medicaid expansion. The firm warns that states who do not expand Medicaid will face "political and budgetary pressure."
11:45 AM, Feb 27, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Yesterday, Chris Christie became the eighth Republican governor to capitulate on Obamacare’s massive Medicaid expansion, declaring his desire to implement it in his state. Yet while Christie wasn’t the first GOP governor to fold, he was presumably the first to offer the novel defense that his decision somehow won’t cost federal taxpayers any money.
1:01 PM, Jan 22, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan knocked President Barack Obama for "shadowbox[ing] a straw man" in his inaugural address. Speaking Tuesday morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show to guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ryan responded to Obama's statement that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security "do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
Ryan called Obama's insinuation that he and other reform-minded Republicans consider recipients of these benefits "takers" a "switcheroo."
5:35 PM, Jan 16, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The head of the AARP has stated clearly where his organization stands on the matter of cutting entitlements. As Kate Ackley reports in Roll Call:
12:14 PM, Nov 16, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
First off, it’s not a “fiscal cliff.” What we’re slated to hit as of New Year’s Day, as the Wall Street Journal notes, is a tax cliff. Our fiscal cliff, which drops off into a far deeper canyon, is what looms because of our $16,000,000,000,000 debt and the runaway entitlement spending that fuels it — Medicare, Medicaid, (and now) Obamacare. In truth, the debt deal passed in the summer of 2011 — which the press now says we must scrap if we are to avoid the “fiscal cliff” — was designed to postpone our going over the (actual) fiscal cliff.
10:01 AM, Oct 9, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
During last Wednesday’s presidential debate, President Obama claimed that the private sector just can’t match the leanness and efficiency of the federal government. He was speaking specifically about privately covered health care versus government-run health care.
6:00 AM, Jul 6, 2012 • By JAY COST
The Hill reports:
Obama touted the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold his signature healthcare reform legislation to cheers from a crowd of his supporters.
“The law I passed is here to stay,” he told an audience composed largely of Ohio automobile manufacturing workers.
9:22 AM, Jun 15, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In his speech yesterday, President Obama said, “[M]y plan would reduce our yearly domestic spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy in nearly 60 years.” Such an amazing claim is made possible only by excluding the two domestic programs that have contributed the most to our nearly $16 trillion debt: Medicare and Medicaid.
Who is in charge: the government or the patient? 9:22 PM, Sep 27, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
During a major speech today at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, Paul Ryan laid out his vision of health care reform, saying, “Choice and competition are critical to controlling costs…[and] improving quality….And yet, across the federal landscape, choice and competition are undermined by poorly designed programs and tax policies.” In other words, to fix our health care system, we need to undo the problems the government has created, rather than further empowering the government.
Medicare bureaucrats wreck the medical equipment market.Aug 15, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 45 • By ELI LEHRER
Sometime late this summer—the Friday before Labor Day if historical patterns hold—the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will announce the beginning of something called Medicare Round Two of “the Competitive Bidding Program for certain Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies.” Although it sounds obscure, this bidding process’s manifest flaws could have serious consequences for just about every American who needs medical care.
12:12 PM, Jul 29, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
A new report from federal officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says that Obamacare will increase nationwide health care spending. Particularly interesting are the report’s findings for 2014, the year that’s slated for Obamacare’s grand opening (if the overhaul isn’t repealed first).
Yes, Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan would lower costs. Jul 18, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 41 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
President Obama and the Democrats claim that the Medicare reforms proposed by Paul Ryan and the Republicans would shift the burden of health costs onto the backs of seniors. This has been the central—and essentially the only—argument the Democrats have made against the GOP plan. But the Democrats’ claim is contradicted by four decades’ worth of empirical evidence.
In many cases having government health insurance is no better than having no insurance12:45 PM, Jul 7, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
One of biggest impacts of Obamacare is the law's expansion of Medicaid. A program designed to help the poor will now balloon to cover as many as 84 million Americans.
However, the Medicaid program is a disaster and why the Obama administration would double down on an increasingly expensive program that is failing to provide basic medical care remains an open question. A recent National Bureau of Economic Research study on Medicaid suggests that in many ways having Medicaid is no different than having no insurance at all. The Republican Policy Committee summarized the findings: