Will States Overturn Health Care Reform?

As the health care debate reached critical mass, many states began looking at what their options are if Obamacare passes. There is a host of issues that they will have, ranging from the budget-busting unfunded federal mandate on Medicaid to the constitutional issue of the individual mandate.  

The so-called “individual mandate” is perhaps the simplest issue. Obama’s health care bill is a budgetary house of cards that depends on forcing every American to buy health insurance.  It sets up another Social Security-like Ponzi scheme in which younger, healthy people buy insurance to make affordable the insurance bought by older, less healthy people. The president has admitted that his scheme doesn’t work unless everyone is forced into the system.

While the federal government can print their own money, states cannot so the looming costs are overwhelming them.  Medicaid and S-Chip are already the fastest growing portions of state budgets.  

ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council), a leading organization in providing tools for states to increase liberty and expand the free market, has put together resources for states to see what others are doing to combat health care reform now and if and when it passes both house of the legislature and is signed into law by the president.

This is not a red state/blue state issue. States like Rhode Island and Washington on the left and Georgia and Oklahoma on the right are looking at their options if Obamacare passes. In addition, Virginia — among other states — has already enacted legislation that makes it illegal to force people to buy medical insurance. And Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has ordered a lawsuit against Obamacare as soon as it may be enacted to enforce the Virginia law.

Arizona will have a measure on the ballot in November, although in this day to day battle, November seems a long way from now.  Missouri and Tennessee are weighing in now with measures moving through their state legislatures.  
Recently, Oklahoma’s House of Representatives approved a resolution that Oklahomans should be able to vote on a state constitutional amendment allowing them to opt out of the federal health care overhaul. Alabama, Kansas and Michigan have measures getting to the floor soon.  There are 33 states taking up legislation to combat Obamacare. In Georgia, the Senate took up a Senate Resolution to allow Georgians to vote on a Constitutional amendment to opt out of any mandated health care system. That was defeated, because a Constitutional amendment requires a two thirds vote.  However, a legislative version of the resolution was passed with a substantial majority later that day.

State Sen. Judson Hill is the author of the Georgia resolution and most of the health care reform legislation in the State House. He’s been working on health issues for most of his career.  In addition to the resolution, he has another bill which will allow states to buy health insurance across state lines in a controlled manner.  This would create larger pools and would be based on states getting together with other states, agreeing on approved plans and then offering them to a pool of people.  “This would ignite the market place, “Senator Hill said.

“There is an ideological battle on the role of government in health care,” Hill said. “If Obamacare passes, the private market would collapse under the weight of new mandates, regulations.  There would be no plans to comply with the federal guideline, so the insurance companies would collapse.” Hill points out if Obamacare passes, there will be taxes collected for the first 4 years.  Taxes with no services in exchange will kill the economy and reduce consumer confidence.  

Hill is passionate about free market health care solutions, and he’s become the “go to” guy for many state legislatures on this issue.  He supports four pillars to reform health care.  First, end the tax discrimination in the system. Everyone paying for health care should get the same benefit whether you are paying for it out of your own pocket or your company provides it. Second, there should be a high risk insurance pool bound together with groups of states.  High risk people would then have coverage and that would in turn lower the costs for everyone. Third, unlock the existing health care monopolies and allow people to cross state lines to purchase health care insurance. Finally, establish transparency in the cost and quality.  Allow customers/patients to compare prices and restore personal responsibility.  The key here is unlocking the free market and freeing up the states to fill in the gaps of the uninsured. That can’t be done with another big government mandate (entitlement program) from the Feds.

“If Obamacare passes, the private market would collapse under the weight of new mandates, regulations.  There would be no [insurance] plans to comply with the federal guideline, so the insurance companies would collapse,”  Hill said.

Hill’s proposals are the same solutions that have been offered and advocated by congressional conservatives throughout last year and in the first months of this year.  You won’t see them in the bill the House may pass this weekend.  

The more important issue is whether — and to what extent — states can rebel successfully againt the federal monstrosity.  If Virginia’s lawsuit against Obamacare succeeds, it may unwind the whole program.