Abbott-sought proposal barring state spending to carry out Obamacare law fails to advance
Maybe you forgot: Before winning for governor, Greg Abbott was the state's third-term sue-Barack-Obama-and-go-home attorney general.
So perhaps it's no surprise that while bidding for governor, Abbott invoked a court case involving the 10th Amendment, which delineates the powers of state and federal governments, as fuel for his promise to achieve a law barring state resources, including state personnel, from being used to implement or enforce the 2010 federal health care overhaul known as Obamacare.
Abbott pointed to a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in Printz vs. United States, stating the court had previously made clear the federal government "may not compel the states to implement, by legislation or executive action, federal regulatory programs."
In March 2015, Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, filed a proposal to impose the restriction. Senate Bill 1112 was referred to a committee, but there was no further action. The legislation said: "No funds, personnel, or other resources of the state or a political subdivision of the state may be used to enforce" the Obamacare law.
A February 2015 Texas Tribune news story quoted an Abbott spokesman, John Wittman, calling the Obamacare law "broken" and "bad for patients, doctors and taxpayers. Gov. Abbott believes that Texas should be able to address our unique health care situation without federal interference," he said, "putting patients and doctors in charge of health care decisions." We asked Wittman if Abbott still sought to bar related expenditures by state government and didn't hear back.
Perhaps Abbott can advance this vow by his own hand. We rate this an Abbott PROMISE STALLED.
Document, "Bicentennial Blueprint, Greg Abbott's Working Texans Plan," Oct. 28, 2013
U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion, Printz v. United States, June 27, 1997 (viewed on website, Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School, May 18, 2015)
Telephone interview, Bee Moorhead, executive director, Texas Impact, Austin, May 18, 2015
News story, "Texas Has High Stakes in Lawsuit Over Health Law," the Texas Tribune, Feb. 10, 2015