Sens. back bill to fight ACA in Ga.
by Joshua Sharpe
March 12, 2014 04:00 AM | 1838 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A complaint filed against Georgia Senate District 21 candidate Brandon Beach challenging his qualifications to run for office has been dismissed.<br>Cherokee Tribune/File
A complaint filed against Georgia Senate District 21 candidate Brandon Beach challenging his qualifications to run for office has been dismissed.
Cherokee Tribune/File
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Bruce Thompson
Bruce Thompson
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John Albers
John Albers
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CANTON — As the end of the 2014 legislative session looms days away, all of Cherokee’s state senators are supportive of a bill that two of their local counterparts in the House helped draft to fight the Affordable Care Act in Georgia.

Sens. Bruce Thompson (R-White), Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) and John Albers (R-Alpharetta) each expressed their support of House Bill 707, which would bar state resources from being used to aid in implementation of the health care law.

“I support anything we can do to eliminate Obamacare or repeal it,” Beach said, when asked about the bill, known as the Health Care Freedom and ACA Non-Compliance Act. “It’s not an affordable health care act. It’s adding cost to the system.”

Cherokee Reps. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) and Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock) collaborated with other lawmakers on the bill, which passed the House last week by a 2-1 margin. It must now pass a vote in the Senate before the session ends March 20 to move toward becoming law this year.

Within the bill, state resources could not be used to help implement the health insurance-related provisions of the sweeping Affordable Care Act. Navigator programs by state entities, such as a program run by the University of Georgia, for the health care law would not be allowed to operate under the bill.

If approved as drafted, the measure would also keep the state insurance commissioner from enforcing or investigating any health insurance-related provisions of the Affordable Care Act. That would make Georgia residents who have issues with the health care law go to federal authorities for help, which some have criticized would be an inconvenience to residents in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.

For Turner, that provision is “perfectly in line with the intent of the bill” and not unusual with federal laws.

“When people have problems with their federal taxes, they call the IRS. When they have problems with their Social Security, they call the SSA,” he said. “When they have problems with the ACA, since it is a federal bill, they should call the federal government.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, but Turner says there is legal precedent that the federal government can’t compel states to enforce federal law. For Turner, the Affordable Care Act is “the federal government’s most overreaching encroachment on individual liberty in our nation’s history.”

“The Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is a tax, which raises the question: What exactly is being taxed? There is no production, no consumption and no transaction,” Turner added. “For the first time ever, the federal government is taxing us for simply being alive.”

Thompson said he was supportive of efforts against the Affordable Care Act in Georgia.

“Obamacare, in my opinion, is already one the biggest boondoggles we’ve had in our history,” he said last week. “You’ve seen that from the people who have had trouble signing up. You’ve seen it with people who lost their insurance ...”

Thompson believes some reforms may be necessary in health care generally, but he said, “Having the government trying to mandate it is not the answer.”

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