Across the republic, state legislatures are utilizing two different types of legislation to challenge and protect state residents from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was passed by Congress in 2010. It is important to understand both of these tools in our toolbox as we move forward in our efforts to protect Tennessee and its citizens from the unconstitutional health care mandate. Both types of legislation need our support this year to ensure that they are passed in the Tennessee General Assembly.
The Health Care Freedom Act was introduced in Tennessee in 2010 by Sen. Mae Beavers. While it was passed in the Senate last year, unfortunately it did not make it through the House. Sen. Beavers is going to run the bill again in 2011 with some improvements (SB 79). South Dakota’s legislature has introduced a similar bill for 2011 as well. Health Care Freedom Acts seek to prevent implementation of the worst part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, namely the penalty provisions for non-compliance. Tennessee’s bill for 2011, SB 79, states:
It is declared that the public policy of this state, consistent with our constitutionally recognized and inalienable right of liberty, is that every person within this state is and shall be free to choose or to decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty.
It is declared that the public policy of this state, consistent with our constitutionally recognized and inalienable right of liberty, is that every person within this state has the right to purchase health insurance or to refuse to purchase health insurance.
Preventing implementation of the individual penalty provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is an essential step forward in the fight to keep health care decisions in the hands of individuals. It is critical that we support Sen. Beavers and the House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, in pushing this bill through the Tennessee General Assembly.
The Federal Health Care Nullification Act (click to download) is Tenth Amendment Center model legislation that goes even further in protecting Tennesseans from the overreach of the federal health care mandate. Instead of nullifying only the penalty provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Federal Health Care Nullification Act nullifies the federal law in its entirety. Nine states so far have introduced the TAC model legislation in their state legislatures: Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming. Idaho is expected to introduce this legislation any day as well.
So why is nullifying the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act important? Simply nullifying the individual penalty provisions doesn’t provide protection for the state government against the unfunded mandates of the new health care law, which in turn doesn’t provide protection for Tennessee taxpayers against the costs of these new unfunded mandates. Over the past few years, the Tennessee state government has worked hard to trim down the rolls of TennCare and Medicaid to reduce the burden on the state government and taxpayers. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would require a substantial expansion of these rolls, undoing all of this hard work. Only nullifying the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in its entirety, as the Federal Health Care Nullification Act does, will provide full protection for Tennesseans from all of the consequences of the new federal health care law.
Please contact Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver to let them know that you support their efforts on the Health Care Freedom Act and ask your state legislators to cosponsor and support their legislation.
Also, contact Sen. Stacey Campfield to encourage him to sponsor the Federal Health Care Nullification Act and talk to your state legislators about supporting the Federal Health Care Nullification Act.
Sen. Mae Beavers: Republican, District 17
(615) 741-2421, email@example.com
Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver: Republican, District 40
(615) 741-2192, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Stacey Campfield: Republican, District 7
(615) 741-1766, email@example.com
Lesley Swann is a Co-Host for Tenther Radio and the state chapter coordinator for the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center. She is a native of Anderson County, Tennessee.
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