Let me start out by saying I don’t like Obamacare, and wish it would be repealed/replaced/modified/made harmless.
That being said, let’s take a minute to consider House Bills 707 and 1014.
HB 707, introduced by Rep. Jason Spencer of Woodbine and passed in the House, would prevent the state of Georgia and its political subdivisions from enforcing the Affordable Care Act. The bill made it as far as the Senate Rules Committee, which ultimately tabled it. HB 1014, the Health Care Freedom Act, was introduced by Rep. Sam Moore. It never got out of committee.
Rep. Spencer is holding a press conference this afternoon, where he plans to “identify the Republican Benedict Arnolds, the King George the Third and his myrmidons who ship wrecked my path breaking, patriotic bill (HB 707) to prevent the federal Leviathan from commandeering the machinery of state government or resources to enforce ill-conceived federal health insurance mandates.”
Meanwhile, Georgia Taxpayers United is sending email blasts condemning GOP legislators who voted against suspending House rules in order to graft HB 1014 onto another bill so it could be kept alive. From the blast:
When it became apparent that Republican “leadership” planned to kill his bill in committee, Rep. Moore worked to offer the bill as an amendment to another bill, H.B. 990.
But in order to even be allowed to present his amendment, Rep. Moore had to make a motion to “temporarily suspend the rules.”
Temporarily suspending the rules is a perfectly legal maneuver, and the legislature does it on a regular basis — when it suits leadership’s interests.
If enough legislators voted in favor of Rep. Moore’s motion, then the amendment to stop Obamacare could be considered.
In other words, [your representative] voted against stopping Obamacare when he voted against Rep. Moore’s motion to amend H.B. 990!
Georgia Taxpayers United could say that about nearly every state representative, since his motion failed, 174-2, with three not voting and one excused.
It’s fairly safe to say that the GOP delegation in the House would like to see Obamacare overturned. The same thing could be said for the Senate. So, why not let these bills come up for a vote?
For the moment, I’ll ignore the possible unintended consequences to Georgia’s healthcare and insurance systems that could arise if the bills were to pass. Let’s instead consider what would happen if the House and Senate approved one or both bills, and sent them to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
If he were to veto the bills weeks before he faces a primary challenge from a TEA Party conservative, he would have put his re-election in doubt.
If he were to sign them into law, he would become an even bigger target for Jason Carter and the Democrats who are already giving him plenty of grief over his refusal to expand Medicaid in Georgia. And that would hurt his chances of winning in November.
Georgia is a red state, but is slowly trending purple. The Democrats have two good candidates in Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter. The outcome of the November election will likely be determined by the 15% or so of independents, who could potentially vote for either candidate.
Ultimately, the fate of Obamacare will be decided at the federal level. That means we need a Republican majority in the Senate. Here in Georgia, the extent to which portions of the Affordable Care Act–including expanding Medicaid–are implemented will be determined in large part by the party which sits in the Governor’s office.
As I said when I began this post, I don’t like Obamacare. I’m also confident that the Governor and our GOP legislators don’t like it either, and won’t do any more than they are legally required to do to assist its implementation in the Peach State.
Instead of setting up purity tests and calling out legislators who didn’t want to put Governor Deal on the spot and risking losing the Governorship and a Senate seat, Republicans should be doing everything they can to make sure Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn don’t win in November. And while they’re at it, they should help to replace John Barrow and Sanford Bishop in the House.
In the long run, that’s the only way the country will be able to implement a more free market healthcare system.