The Supreme Court may have ruled ObamaCare is constitutional, but implementing the controversial federal law would become a crime in South Carolina if a bill passed by the state House becomes law.
The bill, approved Wednesday by a vote of 65-39, declares President Obama’s signature legislation “null and void.” Whereas the law that Obama pushed and Congress passed is known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, South Carolina’s law would be known as the Freedom of Health Care Protection Act.
It would prohibit state officials and employees from “enforcing or attempting to enforce such unconstitutional laws” and “establish criminal penalties and civil liability” for those who engage in activities that aid the implementation of ObamaCare.
The Supreme Court ruled last year that ObamaCare’s underlying provision, requiring all Americans to obtain health insurance, is constitutional, though lawsuits still are pending that argue against certain parts of that mandate — in particular, contraceptive coverage, which some Christian employers argue violates their religious beliefs.
In South Carolina, the nullification bill would allow the state attorney general to take action against anyone causing harm by the implementation of ObamaCare. It proceeds to the state Senate for committee review, according to The Washington Times.
Gov. Nikki Haley has rejected the expansion of Medicaid insurance rolls under a joint federal-state program for low-income Americans, which is an anchor of the law Obama signed in 2010.
“Not in South Carolina,” Haley declared at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March. “We will not expand Medicaid on President Obama’s watch. We will not expand Medicaid ever.”
Other parts of ObamaCare have already started to fray, even before full implementation.
The Obama administration now says a special system of exchanges designed to make it easier for small businesses to provide insurance will be delayed an entire year — to 2015.
“Lots of small businesses struggle with providing insurance for their workers so this was supposed to facilitate it and make it easier for small business to do this,” Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told Fox News last month. “It was a huge portion of the sale job. When they passed the law in 2010 there were many senators and members of Congress who were saying ‘I am doing this because it’s going to help small businesses.'”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.