Eric Giunta
Obamacare: tea partiers say, nullify it; Democratic senator says, who cares if it's constitutional?
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By Eric Giunta
December 5, 2012


An otherwise dry hour-long series of presentations on the federal health-care law ended on a colorful note Monday, as some three dozen tea-party activists, represented by a handful of speakers, took to the podium for an additional hour to present their concerns to Florida senators.

The Florida Senate's Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") launched its first meeting Monday, with Chairman Joe Negron, R-Palm City, assuring his fellow legislators and citizen attendees that no votes would be taken that day.

"I've always believed it's good to have a trial first, before a verdict," announced Negron, a lawyer.

What followed Negron's remarks was a series of talks by several experts on the expected fiscal impact of the healthcare law on Florida's taxpayers. The Florida Legislature is expected to decide, during the course of the 2013 legislative session, what Florida's official response will be to the Obamacare bill, in particular, whether the Sunshine State will set up and manage its own state-wide health insurance exchanges or leave it to the federal government.

The seven Republican and four Democratic senators who make up the committee seemed to agree on more than they didn't. None of the questions asked by senators to presenters reflected any intention to resist the healthcare law. Discussion, such as it was, centered on how the law would be complied with: whether the state would expand Medicaid coverage to all citizens living below 138% of the poverty threshold, and whether the state should assume the responsibility of running its own insurance exchanges.

The conservative activists who took to the podium during the meeting's second half had another idea in mind: nullification.

"Nullification is the states standing up and saying the federal government is not our master: we are," an impassioned KrisAnne Hall, attorney and conservative activist, told the senators, as she concluded a speech that lasted nearly ten minutes. "The states and the people are the masters of the Constitution. We do not have to, nor will we, comply with federal dictates not enumerated in the Constitution."

Nullification is the theory — not popularly held since the conclusion of the American Civil War — that states have authority to invalidate federal laws that they hold to be unconstitutional.

Catch the rest of the story at Sunshine State News!

© Eric Giunta

 

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