From State Representative Ken Paxton (R-McKinney), in a special edition of his weekly newsletter:
“Following the passage of H.R. 3590, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” by the U.S. House of Representatives, I am drafting legislation to reject this overreaching bill due to its impact and costs to our State and to Texas taxpayers. I will file this legislation at the first opportunity for consideration next legislative session, which will begin in January 2011. We must be ready to reject federal takeover of our healthcare system.
The legislation I am currently drafting will be titled, “The Texas Health Freedom Act.” This Act will declare that the public policy of the State of Texas is to exercise sovereign power providing for the rights of Texas residents to choose their own health insurance plan freely without imposition or threat of penalties from the federal or state government. Additionally, this Act gives the Attorney General the express duty to protect the rights and property of the residents of Texans with respect to federal mandates. This bill is modeled after the constitutional amendment that passed in Arizona (HCR 2014) in 2009 and the bill that was signed into law in Idaho (HR 391) on March 17, 2010.
I have also joined with my colleagues in the Texas Conservative Coalition to support Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s efforts to scrutinize the federal health care bill for constitutional problems, such as reviewing the mandate that requires all individuals to purchase health insurance coverage to determine if it violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, the special treatment given to certain states in the legislation violates the “fundamental principles of nondiscrimination that are at the heart of the U.S. Constitution.”
As a general policy matter, the health care reform legislation is wrong for Texas because it will result in health care rationing, higher taxes, massive increases in federal and state spending and increased health care bureaucracy. The most insidious features of the legislation include the following:
· A personal health insurance mandate;
· A requirement for businesses with 50 or more employees to offer health insurance to all of their employees or pay penalties;
· A significant expansion of the Medicaid program;
· An excise tax on health insurance plans with relatively high premiums; and
· Penalties on individuals and businesses that do not purchase or provide health coverage.
These changes would place the federal government at the center of our nation’s health care system at the expense of individual choice and liberty, free enterprise and competition. Texans deserve better, and I will continue to fight to protect our State’s sovereignty and the freedoms of our citizenry.”