As South Carolina lawmakers work through their calendar
during the final week of the regular session, one of the bills the Senate could
decide is whether to nullify the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act, also known as Obamacare.
Some Republicans in the state Senate don't want the
federal law to be put in place in the state.
Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson,
says, "I'm sure this nullification would probably wind us up in the federal
courts, but I believe it's well worth the fight, well worth doing this to see if
we can escape from this encroachment of freedom that's been heaped on us by the
He thinks it's unconstitutional for the federal
government to require people to buy health insurance, even though the U.S.
Supreme Court has already ruled that it is constitutional. "I believe the
Supreme Court was wrong in their ruling," he says. "This is an attempt, as many
other states are considering, a stand to the federal government and just say
'No, you're not going to do this. We're willing to fight you over
He doesn't know how much a court battle might cost
taxpayers, but says it would be worth it.
Jacqueline Fox, a professor at the University of South
Carolina's School of Law and an expert on health care law, says the state has no
chance of winning a court fight over the Affordable Care Act. "You can have all
your theories that you want and people can hold them quite dearly, but in our
system the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what's constitutional or not,
and they've already said that this is."
Besides saying that the Affordable Care Act will not be
enforced in the state, the bill would allow the state's attorney general to
prosecute any person or business that he "has reasonable cause to believe" is
harming any person or business by implementing the Affordable Care
The federal law includes tax penalties for people and
businesses that refuse to buy health insurance. Under the state bill, anyone
facing those fines could get a state tax credit to offset
Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Columbia, and other Democrats in
the Senate will fight the nullification effort. He says if the bill becomes law,
"We will spend thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to
defend something that we know we are going to