South Carolina is not just refusing to expand Medicaid…we are seeking to nullify the Affordable Care Act in our state. Nullification is not a novel concept….it's actually a throwback to Calhounism dating back to the middle of the 19th century. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina spawned a largely southern conservative ideology that states could effectively nullify the federal government at any time…that it was subordinate to state government. And we see Calhounism alive and well in politics today.
Recent legislation introduced by South Carolina lawmakers would allow the state attorney general to sue businesses that implement the Affordable Care Act if there is "reasonable cause" to believe people would be harmed by that implementation. Would the Attorney General have sole authority to determine that harm? And what are the criteria for making that determination?
This proposed law is guaranteed to result in a multitude of lawsuits as hospitals, healthcare organizations and other companies denied implementation counter-sue the state government to provide affordable care to their constituents. We act as though the Affordable Care Act was forced on us when in fact it passed by a majority in both the US House and Senate. It appears that in this instance, nullification could result in an ideological win at considerable expense to every SC taxpayer.