Senators weigh new tactic in health care reform nullification fi - - Columbia, South Carolina

Senators weigh new tactic in health care reform nullification fight


Last year, a bill that would have nullified the Affordable Care Act came close to passing the Senate and heading to Gov. Nikki Haley's desk.

However, the Senate adjourned without taking any action on the bill.

In 2014, many senators have adopted a different approach to try and get this bill pushed into law. The latest argument isn't even for nullification -- it's for limitation, or what's known as commandeering.

"If it's a bad law, and I think it is a bad law, why would we use state tax dollars to implement it when we're not constitutionally or legally required to do so," said state Sen. Tom Davis, one of the state's leading health care reform opponents.

"You can change the name to commandeering, even though the concept is nullification," said state Sen. Brad Hutto. "It's a big waste of time for the people of South Carolina."

The new bill would regulate the flow of federal dollars destined for health care reform programs.

'We're not going to accept programs from the Affordable Care Act unless they have been reviewed by the legislature so we know what strings are attached," said Davis.

Davis also wants federally-appointed health care navigators, who help sign people up for insurance, to be regulated by the state. It's a push that's brought other states to the losing side of a Supreme Court battle.

"That's what the rulings in Tennessee and Missouri were, that the state law to regulate the navigators would be impeding on the will of congress," said Brett Bursey of the South Carolina Progressive Network.

Lawmakers are anticipating weeks of debate over the new proposal.

"If this bill passes, which I doubt it will, it will immediately be seen by a federal court and probably never see the light of day," said Hutto. "And we will have wasted weeks of our precious time."

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