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article imageSouth Carolina House approves bill making 'Obamacare' a crime

By Yukio Strachan     May 3, 2013 in Politics
The GOP-controlled South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill that would criminalize implementation of President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare reform law.
The bill, South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act, that passed with a House vote of 65 to 39, renders much of the Affordable Care Act "null and void." It would "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 bill would empower the state Attorney General “to restrain by temporary restraining order” against any person or entity who harms the state by implementation of the Patient Protection and 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, the State.com reported.
The bill was drafted after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the federal health care reform bill, officially named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama on March 24, 2010, in a 5-4 decision in June 2012, a decision that South Carolina state Rep. Bill Chumley, R-Spartanburg, strongly disagreed with. In response, Chumley told U.S. News, "we put a little study committee together to look at the possibility of nullification."
According to BYU, the nullification doctrine—and its close cousin “interposition”—hold that states are independent interpreters of the federal Constitution and that states can therefore declare federal laws unconstitutional and inapplicable within their respective borders.
But UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh told U.S. News the proposed law "would be clearly un-enforceable, because the federal law – upheld by the Supreme Court – trumps state law."
"But I assume it's meant to make a political statement, not to have a direct legal effect," adds Volokh.
House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, (D-Richland) said the bill “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, the State.com reported.
But that will not happen, Rutherford predicted, because the bill makes legal action optional, and “the attorney general of this state has sense.”
The nullification bill moved on to the state Senate Thursday and referred to the Committee on Finance, the Washington Times reported.
More about Obamacare, Nullification, Patient protection and affordable care act, South carolina house
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