West Virginia House Passes Bill to End State-Run Obamacare Exchange

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 14, 2017) – A West Virginia bill to shut down the state-run Obamacare health insurance exchange passed the House today. Final passage of the legislation would take an important first step toward withdrawing the state from implementing the national healthcare program.

Rep. Joe Ellington (R-Princeton) sponsored House Bill 2119 (HB2119), The legislation would simply repeal provisions in West Virginia law establishing a health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. That would leave the federal government to administer the insurance exchange on its own.

The House passed HB2119 by a 68-31 vote.

At this point it remains unclear if the Republicans will be able to pass their replacement plan for Obamacare, and the current scheme retains the insurance exchanges. Regardless, state actions can help completely bring down national healthcare schemes no matter what form they take.

Obamacare, and the proposed Republican replacement, are predicated on state cooperation. By ending state actions that support the ACA or the Republican plan, and refusing to enforce any of its mandates, a state can make it nearly impossible to run national healthcare its borders. The federal government never intended to run the healthcare system alone, and ultimately, it can’t do it without state help. We’ve already seen the difficulties created for the Affordable Care Act by the number of states that simply refused to set up exchanges for the federal government.

Refusing to expand Medicaid or to set up an exchange are two essential steps states should take to facilitate an end to Obamacare or its so-called replacement. HF10 takes the very first step. That would set the stage for further action. Judge Andrew Napolitano noted that if a number of states were to refuse to participate with the ACA in a wholesale fashion, that multi-state action would “gut Obamacare.”

Napolitano said that if enough states follow suit, “it will gut ObamaCare because the federal government does not have the resources or the wherewithal […] to go into each of the individual states.”

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HB2119 now moves to the Senate for further consideration. At the time of this report, it had not been referred to a committee.

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