Health Care

Commentary: HB 1474 Would Help Protect Autonomy of States and Individuals

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As early as today the Louisiana Senate will be voting on Rep. Kirk Talbot’s HB 1474, which would protect our state against the unconstitutional government micromanagement of intrastate commerce and personal choice also known as the individual mandate for health insurance coverage. The timing of Rep. Talbot’s bill could not be better. As reported by both the New York Times and the Cato Institute, President Obama’s issuance of new health insurance regulations this week emphasizes the dire economic implications of mandated insurance coverage on private businesses and individuals.

As explained by the Times, the new regulations will interfere with the right of citizens to retain their current level of health insurance supposedly protected by ObamaCare’s ‘grandfather’ clause. Because ObamaCare stipulates a minimum standard of health coverage per person, many individuals or small businesses which may make alterations to their coverage plans run the risk of losing their exemption under the new health care act. This runs contrary to the wishes of most businesses, which, according to the Times, want to “keep their existing health plans intact with a minimum of changes.”

According to the administration’s own economic analysis, almost half of employer-sponsored plans would see these changes by 2013. The government is drastically overstepping its Constitutional boundaries and interfering in intrastate commerce, forcing private businesses to abide by government-mandated standards of health insurance. Where in the Constitution does the federal government have the enumerated power to tell a private, intrastate business that it must purchase a certain amount of coverage?

Furthermore, Cato expounds that these regulations are not just principally wrong, but will have a damaging impact on businesses and individuals. Cato cites the studies of health economists as finding that forced employer contributions invariably lead to employers deducting from employees’ overall compensation package or lowering their wages to recompense for the difference. In addition, Cato’s Michael Cannon concludes that, “Health premiums, which were going to keep rising anyway, will rise even higher as a result of ObamaCare. If employers or consumers try to cope with those rising premiums by paring back the amount of coverage they purchase, they lose their “grandfather” protections, and ObamaCare forces them to purchase even more coverage. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Our state government has an opportunity to take an important step in staving off the Federal government’s attempts to both usurp autonomy from the states as well as to impede individual liberty of choice.

Rep. Talbot’s bill doesn’t aim to repeal Obama’s health care act, only those elements which violate the Constitutional reach of the government, namely the individual mandate. Louisiana can be one of the states standing up to the encroachment of Washington and protecting our right to make individual choices pertinent to our health and welfare. Contact your legislators and let them know you want this inalienable right to remain untrammeled.

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