In the wake of the second consecutive federal court decision finding the individual mandate provision of the Obama health care law unconstitutional, a group of senators led by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), are working to place a moratorium on any further implementation until there has been final judicial resolution in the pending lawsuits challenging the law.
S.281, the Save our States Act, was introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and is cosponsored by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Ensign (R-Nev.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
The January 31, 2011, ruling by Federal Judge Roger Vinson found the entire Obama health care law void. By finding the law void, the court is effectively ordering the government to stop enforcing the law on the states. There are 26 states that are parties to the lawsuit, and several of them have announced they are applying the ruling in different ways.
The SOS Act would ensure that all states are on equal footing and that no more taxpayer dollars are spent implementing a bill two federal courts have already found unconstitutional. Since the health care reform bill passed, the Administration has released over 6,000 pages of regulations instructing states, businesses, and individuals how to comply with this law.
The bill delays provisions and new regulations of the Obama health care law not in effect on the date of enactment until final judicial resolution of the lawsuits. The bill does not suspend features of the law already in effect on the date of enactment.
Sen. Barrasso said, "A majority of Americans have demanded that Washington repeal and replace the President's health care law with patient centered solutions that bring down the cost of care," said Barrasso. "This week, the courts dealt another blow to the law when a federal judge sided with 26 states in ruling Obamacare unconstitutional. It's now time to provide certainty to the states by immediately halting Obamacare's mandates until the courts issue a final ruling."
Sen. Blunt said, "Better health care at a lower cost is achievable if we do the right things, but we should not waste any more time or taxpayer dollars on this law until we have absolute judicial clarity. Two federal courts have already deemed this law unconstitutional, and employers are telling us they're not hiring because of uncertainty created by ObamaCare. Americans deserve better, and we need to move forward with a plan that allows for more competition, more transparency, and better coverage."
Sen. Coats said, "As the courts continue to weigh in on the new health care law, Congress should prevent the implementation of all remaining provisions. The fight to overturn the massive, unaffordable health care law is far from over. The right course of action is to repeal the law and replace it with sensible, cost-effective reforms of our health care system."
Sen. Cornyn said, "Many Texans and others across America continue to express outrage regarding Obamacare. I share their frustration and believe that the individual mandate is a gross overreach of the federal government's limited and enumerated powers. Obamacare sets a dangerous precedent that would allow the federal government to force Texans and all Americans to buy any product or service--regardless of need or want. We cannot rely on the courts to clean up this mess and we must continue to fight to repeal this unprecedented affront to limited government and our individual liberties."
Sen. Crapo said, "In addition to being unaffordable, the health care law has been ruled unconstitutional by two federal courts. Americans want health care reform that includes innovative solutions that will allow everyone the opportunity to afford and keep a health care plan that best meets their needs, not decisions made by government bureaucrats. That would include realigning payment incentives toward outcomes, not the number of procedures; promoting wellness and prevention programs; encouraging small businesses to pool together to purchase insurance; allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines to increase competition; eliminating waste, fraud and abuse and expanding health savings accounts as good first steps that do not raise taxes and will meaningfully lower health costs."
Sen. Ensign said, "The individual mandate is unconstitutional and it is simply unacceptable for this provision to start penalizing hard-working Americans while lawsuits are still pending. The Constitution is the last line of defense for the citizens of this country against an overreaching, power-hungry government, and while those on the other side of the aisle have declared these lawsuits a waste of time, they are not. These lawsuits are owed their day in court before any more of this law goes into effect."
Sen. Hutchison said, "Many states are responding differently to this week's ruling that the Obama health law is unconstitutional, and this could result in even more wasted taxpayer dollars. States should not be forced to shoulder costly federal burdens that may eventually be ruled null and void, especially in the face of an estimated $124.7 billion budget shortfall this fiscal year alone. For clarity and to prevent additional wasted time and money, Congress should impose a moratorium on further implementation of the health-care reform law until the courts render a final judicial decision."
Sen. Inhofe said, "I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that delays implementation of Obamacare until a final resolution is reached within the court system. It will protect states and citizens from being forced to comply with a Federal law that has been rightly ruled unconstitutional. As a long-time opponent of Obamacare, I agree with Judge Vinson's recent ruling."
Sen. Johnson said, "The constitutionality of the 2010 health care law was clearly in question when Congress raced to pass it in the dead of night. Now we have two courts ruling it unconstitutional. That being the case, there is no reason for taxpayers in all 50 states to begin spending millions of dollars implementing a plan that may ultimately be thrown out in its entirety. This commonsense legislation creates a "time-out' while the question is settled."
Sen. Kyl said, "In light of the recent federal court rulings striking down President Obama's health spending law as unconstitutional, it would seem prudent to halt any further implementation of the law until the judicial review process has run its full course. With ObamaCare beginning to take control over one-sixth of our nation's economy and fundamentally restructuring how every American receives health care, it's critically important that we allow the judicial branch of our government to determine whether the President and Congress even have the authority to impose such an dangerously expansive law."
Sen. Moran said, "This week, another federal judge ruled that our Constitution prohibits the federal government from forcing Americans to purchase any good or service -- including health care -- as a condition of living in America. Most states are constitutionally prohibited from spending money they do not have, and should not be forced to make major budget decisions in this highly uncertain landscape. The Save our States Act provides certainty by delaying any implementation of the health care law until its constitutionality is determined by our nation's highest court."
Sen. Risch said, "The Florida ruling calls further into question the legitimacy of the health care law, yet the Administration is pushing forward with the implementation of this monstrosity at a tremendous cost to the states, small businesses and the American people. It is simply irresponsible to waste billions of dollars that we don't have on a plan that could ultimately be ruled unconstitutional."
Sen. Roberts said, "With further judicial review of Obamacare's individual mandate assured, and given the constantly growing number of problems and high costs with the law, we should pass this bill to suspend it immediately so that we can halt its infringements on American's constitutional rights and introduce an alternative that brings down the cost of care for consumers. This is what Americans really want."