(Juneau) - The Alaska House of Representatives today passed the Alaska Health Freedom Act, which would nullify the individual mandate of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare.)
Congress severely over-reached on health care last year and it's time for Alaska to join other states, not just in the courts suing against the bill, but here at home by passing laws to bar its enactment.
~ Rep. Carl Gatto
House Bill 1, sponsored by House Judiciary Chair Carl Gatto, R-Palmer, adds a new section to state law that says a person has the right to accept or decline any offered mode of securing health care without subject to penalty or threat of penalty. The bill exempts programs required by the state, its political subdivisions or the courts.
"Congress severely over-reached on health care last year and it's time for Alaska to join other states, not just in the courts suing against the bill, but here at home by passing laws to bar its enactment," Gatto said. "Congress did not have the constitutional authority to pass a bill to regulate inactivity or to penalize certain people and call it a 'tax' under their powers. 26 states, including Alaska, are suing the government to throw out the law, while 44 states have similar legislation, with eight of those states passing legislation similar to HB 1."
Gatto says the point of the Alaska Health Freedom Act is to let every Alaskan choose their mode of securing health care services, not a federal bureaucrat. "Patients, not government officials, should decide who and how to pay for medical coverage and services," Gatto said. "They should also be free to decide which doctor to see and whether they should get a second or third opinion. The PPACA has the potential to levy tremendous burdens on Alaskans and businesses. We must defend our constitutional rights."
HB 1, which passed by a vote of 24 to 16, now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.