State legislation aims to stop reform implementation

Officials in some Republican-led states have not lost hope in putting the brakes on the healthcare reform law. In South Carolina, lawmakers hope a bill will stop reform implementation in the state, while legislation in Missouri would suspend insurers' licenses if they accept federal subsidies.

South Carolina's proposed legislation, which lawmakers are expected to consider in the next few weeks, would ban state agencies from helping to implement the reform law and give the state oversight of insurance rates for plans sold on the health insurance exchange. It also would require navigators to obtain a license from the state, reported Reuters.

"Even though the federal government may pass a law, and even though that law may be constitutional, that doesn't mean that the federal government can direct the state to spend state dollars to implement it," Republican state Sen. Tom Davis told Reuters.

If South Carolina passes the measure, it could serve as a "template, something that other states can follow," Davis said. "It's like we're holding the fort until we can get people in Congress that can repeal or replace it."

Meanwhile, newly introduced legislation in Missouri would suspend insurance companies' state licenses if they accept federal subsidies as premium payments from low- and middle-income residents, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The bill was proposed by state Sen. John Lamping (R), who believes subsidies are illegal and eventually will be overturned by a federal court.

The insurance industry will be closely following the legislation. "We're kinda caught in the middle," Brent Butler, government affairs director for the Missouri Insurance Coalition, told the Post-Dispatch. "We've spent three years since the adoption of the Affordable Care Act informing everybody of the changes that will happen in the marketplace. This might add more questions than answers."

To learn more:
- read the Reuters article
- see the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article