By Ken Paxton
Last March, when Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare,” I committed to work on passing a bill in Texas to reject this over-reaching federal legislation. And so last week (the first week we were able to file bills for the upcoming legislative session, I filed the Texas Health Freedom Act as my first bill for the 82nd Legislative Session.
The power of the federal government to require an individual to purchase health insurance coverage is not found in the United States Constitution. Additionally, the federal government should refrain from imposing unjustified conditions and federal requirements that should be decided by state legislatures, rather than the United State Congress.
My legislation, (House Bill 97 and House Joint Resolution 24) would accomplish the following:
· Guarantees that individuals in Texas have the right to choose or decline to choose health insurance coverage without penalties or sanctions or threats of penalties or sanctions;
· Limits the power of the state agencies, public officials, employees, or political subdivisions from imposing, collecting, or enforcing a penalty or sanction intended to punish or discourage the right of the individual to choose their own private health insurance coverage; and
· Givers the Attorney General the authority to seek injunctive relief against the federal government and defend the state of Texas in court to uphold our state sovereignty.
The U.S. Constitution sets forth the framework of government that limits the power, authority, and ability of the federal government. When the government steps beyond the boundaries of their constitutional limits to require individuals to purchase private products under threat of penalty, then the freedoms of individuals are threatened. The Health Freedom Act, which has been passed by a resounding margin in other states throughout the year, gives Attorney General Abbott the ability to defend our state sovereignty while allowing Texas to determine an appropriate course of action to develop health care delivery methods that maximize the rights of individuals.
State Representative Ken Paxton is in the running for Speaker of the House in Texas.