In an attempt to undermine the Federal law, South Carolina’s House of Representatives passed a so-called “nullification” bill that declares President Obama’s health care bill null and void and, otherwise unconstitutional according to state law. What is to be called the South Carolina Freedom of Health Care and Protection Act, passed by a vote of 65-39. If the bill passes in the state’s Senate, it will prohibit the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act in the state.
The bill intends 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.” and would permit the state Attorney General to restrain, by temporary restraining order, any person who is thought to be causing harm through the implementation of the President’s health care reform law.
South Carolina has a history of snubbing the federal government. The closest any state has ever come to nullifying a federal law was almost two centuries ago. South Carolina led an unconstitutional effort to nullify a federal law declaring federal Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void. Nevertheless, the perceived threats to state sovereignty are becoming more prevalent with regarding key issues. This week Alabama passed legislation that declared federal laws in violation of the Second Amendment shall be considered null and void. Similar laws are being pushed for in Kansas and Pennsylvania.
Earlier this year, in her State of the State address South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), pledged not to accept the President’s health care reform law. “South Carolina does not want, and cannot afford, the president’s health care plan,” she said. “Not now, and not ever. To that end, we will not pursue the type of government-run health exchanges being forced on us by Washington.”
Nullification of the health care reform law could potentially be a step in the wrong direction for South Carolina. The Affordable Care Act provides crackdowns on waste and fraud, while shrinking rising health cost, provides families with the security they deserve while also forcing insurance companies to play by the rules.
Sara Papantonio is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.