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South Carolina Lawmakers Draft Bill to Challenge Affordable Care Act

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With the start of the New Year, came the beginning of the Affordable Care Act and one Lowcountry lawmaker's task of amending a bill to stop that law in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act, or H.3101, is a plan to push back against what some are calling big government, by poking some holes in the Affordable Care Act.

The bill passed the House back in April, but Senator Tom Davis says it needed some tweaking when it reached the Senate. He was appointed to make the necessary changes before lawmakers return to the statehouse in a couple of weeks.

"What the state is basically saying is, we have the right to opt out of this," said Ann Ubelis with the Beaufort Tea Party.

That's how she interpreted H.3101 in its preliminary phase.

However, Davis says it is beyond the state's power to nullify the Affordable Care Act. Nullification is actually misnomer, he says.

"That stands for the notion that even though Congress may have passed a law, and even though that law may have been declared constitutional by the United States Supreme Court, the states as sovereign entities are not obligated to enforce that law," Davis says.

Instead of this, he will opt for changes that are in fact constitutional.

"What we're talking about doing here is more along the lines of something called 'anti-commandeering'," he says.

Davis explains the notion of anti-commandeering as the bill's sponsors stance against federal government usurping state government. He says there are things South Carolina can refuse in the face of the Affordable Care Act.

"That still doesn't mean the state has to use its personnel, its agencies, and use its money in order to enforce the federal law," Davis says.

Ubelis says she stands behind a law on the books to prevent damage like this to the state as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

"It's freedom. It's freedom at its greatest," she says.

However, not all agree the Affordable Care Act is all bad. John Giles with the Democratic Club of Beaufort County says the law is already helping people, and not necessarily harming the state.

He says a bill to quit allotting state resources toward affordable insurance is unfounded.

"That is not the answer," Giles says. "We have to start somewhere."

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