Amendment 6: Alabama vs. federal health care | News
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF)- Election Day is just days away and many voters have already made up their minds about the presidential race, but at the state level, there are 11 amendments on the ballot.
One of those, Amendment 6, brings the debate over health care reform back to the forefront.
Protests in the streets against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, may have quieted down, but protests on paper are certainly speaking loud and clear.
A "yes" vote on Amendment 6 would prohibit any person, employer or health care provider from being compelled to participate in any health care system.
There's only one problem – lawmakers agreed to put it on the ballot before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, saying it is constitutional. In other words, voting on this amendment can't change a thing.
The sponsor of Amendment 6, former State Representative Blaine Galliher, said in his opinion, the Supreme Court ruling was wrong.
"There is a great deal of frustration in state government as well as private citizens about the mandate that is being forced upon us," said Galliher.
He said that frustration is coming from his constituents in the medical community, small business owners and tax payers who simply don't want it.
"You have to draw a line in the sand and make a statement on where you feel the right of government ends and the right of the citizen begins," he continued.
Those citizens will have a chance to challenge the controversial law on November 6th, if the amendment is passed. If it doesn't, Galliher wants the Attorney General to exhaust every legal challenge the state may have, but some see that as a waste of time and money.
"It is unenforceable," said UAH Political Science Professor Dr. Andree Reeves. "It would be a violation in this little clause in the constitution called the supremacy clause that basically means that if there is a conflict between federal law and state law, that if it goes to court, the federal law will prevail every time."
Reeves said this just boils down to a symbolic slap in the face.
"Amendment 6 is a way for the legislature, which is controlled by Republicans, to thumb its nose at the Democratic administration."
Reeves said the only effect Amendment 6 may have if passed, is serving as a state poll to see just how many people are against the Affordable Care Act, and continue to fuel public opinion.
"It will attract attention to Alabama, not all positive," said Reeves.
The attorney general and other lawmakers vow to continue pushing the federal government on the Affordable Care Act.
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