SC

The Palmetto “Nullification” Scam

INSIDE SOUTH CAROLINA’S MOST CONTENTIOUS LEGISLATIVE DEBATE Last week several of South Carolina’s top “limited government” leaders assembled for a super secret meeting regarding the nullification of U.S. President Barack Obama’s socialized medicine law. The heated exchange – which featured state lawmakers, representatives of the S.C. Policy Council, the John…

INSIDE SOUTH CAROLINA’S MOST CONTENTIOUS LEGISLATIVE DEBATE

Last week several of South Carolina’s top “limited government” leaders assembled for a super secret meeting regarding the nullification of U.S. President Barack Obama’s socialized medicine law.

The heated exchange – which featured state lawmakers, representatives of the S.C. Policy Council, the John Birch Society, the Tenth Amendment Center, the S.C. Campaign for Liberty, RINO Hunt and various other “Tea Party” affiliated groups – was noteworthy for its intensity, we’re told.  It was also noteworthy because it revealed a total lack of unanimity from the so-called “conservative” community on this issue.

(For more on that lack of unanimity, click here).

But that’s not all this meeting laid bare …

According to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, the contentious gathering also exposed a fundamental disconnect between the current nullification movement in the Palmetto State and the actual doctrine of nullification this movement purports to advance.

It also led many who participated in the conversation to reach the same conclusion: That certain insurance industry interests are driving the nullification debate as a wedge issue to improve their profit margins – and are using several advocacy groups as paid fronts for that effort.

We’ll dig deeper into that aspect of the scam in a moment, but first let’s point blank address the dirty little secret of the “nullification” debate in South Carolina: Everybody’s arguing over nothing.

Nada.

What do we mean by that? It’s remarkably simple: None of the versions of “nullification” presently before the S.C. General Assembly – and none of the proposed amendments to these bills – would nullify Obamacare.

Wait … what?  For those of you educated in South Carolina government-run schools, we’ll repeat that …

None of the versions of “nullification” presently before the S.C. General Assembly – and none of the proposed amendments to these bills – would nullify Obamacare.

In other words, if one were to ask the question “what’s all the fuss about?” as it relates to the current nullification debate in South Carolina, the correct answer – despite the best efforts of certain political operatives to convince impressionable voters otherwise – would be “nothing.”

Not a damn thing.

***

LETTERS OF THE LAW

Having called out nullification as nothing more than a “debate in name only” – we should probably provide our readers with some context for this assertion.

Let’s start from the top …

The original version of the Obamacare nullification bill – filed in December 2012 by S.C. Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Spartanburg) – would have actually gone quite a ways toward accomplishing the stated objective of nullification supporters, but it was watered down considerably by the time it passed the S.C. House.  In fact the only portion of Chumley’s bill retaining any resemblance to nullification – let alone the practical enforcement thereof – was the legislation’s non-binding preamble.

S.C. STATE HOUSE
S.C. STATE HOUSE

And even this preamble (which has no force or effect of law because it does expressly create, amend or delete existing state statutes) has been dramatically watered down.

Originally, the preamble to Chumley’s legislation stated that Obamacare “is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers, and is invalid in this State, is not recognized by this State, is specifically rejected by this State, and is null and void and of no effect in this State.”

Reinforcing that language, Chumley’s original bill specifically outlined how Obamacare would be nullified by state authorities – including the imprisonment of federal officials who attempted to enforce the law’s provisions within South Carolina’s borders.

To wit …

An official, agent, or employee of the United States government or an employee of a corporation providing services to the United States government who enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this article is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

And …

A public officer or employee of the State of South Carolina who enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

That’s nullification.

In the version of the bill that passed the S.C. House, though, Chumley’s original preamble lost most of its bite.  No longer declaring Obamacare to be “null and void,” the new language merely asserted that “the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 which exceed the limited powers granted to the Congress pursuant to the Constitution, cannot and should not be considered the supreme law of the land.”

The revised legislation makes no mention of invalidating, rejecting or not recognizing federal law.

More to the point, in the legally binding enforcement section of the revised bill – the harsh penalties contained in Chumley’s original draft were removed and replaced by a whimper of a response.

Whenever the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that a person or business is being harmed by implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and that proceedings would be in the public interest, the Attorney General may bring an action in the name of the State against such person or entity causing the harm to restrain by temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, or permanent injunction the use of such method, act, or practice.

Obviously there is an ocean of difference between these two pieces of legislation.

“Nothing we are debating now will nullify Obamacare,” one attendee of the recent meeting tells FITS. “What we are debating now is whether to include a totally unenforceable assertion into a bill that says ‘we’re not going to nullify Obamacare but we can if we want to.’ It is nanny nanny boo boo politics – driven by self-interested operatives.”

“The original bill of Chumley’s was the nullify bill,” one source close to the debate tells FITS. “What they amended it to wasn’t anything like that, but they left a lot of the original preamble in … and (so) some people seem hung up on asserting that right (to nullify) but are less focused on actually stopping the practice of the programs in the bill.”

And are any of those programs being stopped?

“No bill I’ve seen would stop the legislature or governor from drawing down federal money even as they say Obamacare cannot be enforced,” our source says.

Which leads us to  …

***

THE REAL DEBATE

This website has followed Medicaid expansion in South Carolina for years – chronicling the unsustainable growth of this program under “Republican” rule.

What have we discovered?  That no administration in South Carolina history has been as committed to ballooning this entitlement program as the administration of Gov. Nikki Haley.

Wait … isn’t Haley a “conservative?” Hasn’t she gone on the record in opposition to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion?  Yes.  In fact Haley never wastes an opportunity to tout her opposition to Obamacare – hypocritical as it may be.

Just two months ago Haley told The Wall Street Journal South Carolina “will not expand Medicaid. Ever.”

NIKKI HALEY
NIKKI HALEY

But behind Haley’s rhetoric has been a relentless campaign to use tens of millions of tax dollars to inflate South Carolina’s already bloated Medicaid rolls to levels never before seen.

“That’s the problem,” one disgruntled former Haley supporter says. “We say we won’t expand under Obamacare, but we are expanding under current eligibility. How long before our tweaks to eligibility have us at Obamacare expansion levels whether we officially opt in or not?”

Actually, that’s happening now …

As we noted in this exclusive piece, in the coming fiscal year Medicaid enrollment in South Carolina will grow by a whopping 16 percent in fiscal year 2014-15 – triple the projected rate of growth in the current fiscal year.  That unsustainable growth is why Haley’s administration is requesting $467.1 million more in the coming fiscal year from taxpayers.

To put this data in perspective, the average Medicaid growth rate in states which have rejected Obamcare’s expansion is only five percent.  Somehow, Haley’s administration has managed to more than triple that rate – exceeding even the 12 percent average growth rate of states which have accepted Obamacare’s expansion.

So while “Republican” lawmakers in South Carolina have voted once against Obamacare’s expansion, the real test of their “conservative” mettle isn’t whether they vote for a toothless “nullification” bill – it’s whether they vote to continue subsidizing this unsustainable expansion of socialized medicine within their borders.

***

THE SPECIAL INTERESTS 

One of the key drivers of the recent super secret nullification meeting in South Carolina – at least from the perspective of the John Birch Society – was the perspective of an as-yet-unnamed national insurance company looking to expand its business in South Carolina.

According to our sources who attended the meeting, the John Birch Society’s representative – Jesse Graston – made repeated references to this company and its views on the specific language being articulated.

JESSE GRASTON
JESSE GRASTON

Independently, sources at the S.C. Department of Insurance (SCDOI) have reached out to FITS regarding overtures they have received from a company seeking to sell low budget “catastrophic” coverage plans in the Palmetto State en masse.

FITS is attempting to identify the company in question, but we’re told that “several” of the organizations pushing this so-called nullification fight are awash in insurance money.

So are special interests funding this effort?  And if so, does that mean this whole nullification movement in South Carolina (i.e. the legislation, the town hall meetings, the public rallies, etc.) is at the end of the day nothing but a way for one company to enhance its competitive position at the expense of another?

Sure looks that way … although FITS is filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with SCDOI in an effort to be absolutely certain.

One thing we do know is that the nullification fight – such as it is – is the only thing keeping certain “Tea Party” groups in South Carolina (and their leaders) remotely relevant. Take Talbert Black of Lexington, S.C., whose Campaign for Liberty group emerged as a major player on the Palmetto political scene in 2010 – only to fall off the map in the last two years.  A high-profile debate on nullification creates easy outrage for these groups – enabling them to draw big crowds and raise big money from impressionable activists.

It’s an opportunity for them to get back on the map, in other words … secure in the knowledge that the troops they march into battle aren’t smart enough to see that they’re getting played.

“It really is a page out of the old establishment Republican playbook,” one South Carolina Republican operative told FITS. “Fighting for stuff you’re not really fighting for – and then laughing all the way to the bank.”

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28 comments

Deo Vindice SC January 12, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Alot to do about nothing. SC slaves will continue to be slaves. Move on people of SC. Thank god you even have the ouzzz that comes from our politicians.

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Haha! January 12, 2014 at 6:26 pm

The John Birch Society? HAhahaha,

And we are supposed to take this foolishness seriously?

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Rob January 12, 2014 at 7:07 pm

I am a conservative and tea party member. But this stuff is a whack job paradise. It is encouraged by Haley as a way to keep the whackiest of the right wind near her. Nothing of will ever come of it but Haley will benefit. Of course, that is what it is all about.

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Lake January 13, 2014 at 7:26 am

Then I would suggest you advocate that people vote for anyone but Haley.

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George Heyworth IV January 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Another issue sliding under the radar this past week were changes to hospital and perinatal regulations proposed by DHEC. MUSC out in full force. They want to continue to monopolize the Lowcountry. It needs to stop. Just looking at the front page of the paper today show that our kids are getting better care out of state. It’s time to introduce true competition.

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Deo Vindice SC January 12, 2014 at 7:39 pm

So in the laymans terms, I will fuck you for shit-loads of money. And enjoy seeing you squirm. Been there done that, Nikki will be impressed!!!

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forreell January 12, 2014 at 7:39 pm

By refusing to enforce statutory laws on cannibis and homosexual “marriage”, it would appear that our prezzie has already successfully nullified many laws…so nullification doesn’t seem so scary when performed by Barry….

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Deo Vindice SC January 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm

So lets all go to a party of love with nikki and big cocks, and film it all

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Screw them all January 12, 2014 at 7:41 pm

“Independently, sources at the S.C. Department of Insurance (SCDOI) have
reached out to FITS regarding overtures they have received from a
company seeking to sell low budget “catastrophic” coverage plans in the
Palmetto State en masse.”

The SCDOI is filled with whores & pimps. The are the whole reason we didn’t have a free market in healthcare even before the Obamacare disaster.

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Screw them all January 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm

“They are the whole reason”

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Deo Vindice SC January 12, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I want to be in the party, my cock is large, I promise.

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RogueElephant January 12, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Crooked politicians in Cola. sold out to special interests at the taxpayers expense SAY IT AIN’T SO. HAHAHAHAHA. Nothing new here..

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SCBlues January 12, 2014 at 9:23 pm

The same cast of characters have been against anything and everything associated with this BLACK President since day one – actually even before day one as all the plotting and scheming began before he was even sworn in. Nullification in this case goes by some other more familiar names.

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Smirks January 13, 2014 at 9:10 am

Nullification has little to do with Obama’s race. It has more to do with the fact that Republicans are running on a strategy of pure unadulterated hate against their opposition and can’t accept anything even remotely good coming from a Democratic presidency whatsoever. When Reid has to change the filibuster rules just to get rid of 100% obstruction of all judicial appointments, there is an undeniable air that the GOP is trying everything possible to invalidate the 2008 and 2012 presidential election. Read just a few of the figures and it is quite clear that no other Congress before this one has been so divisive, done so little, obstructed so much, or has had such low approval ratings.

It is a strategy hailed by Rush Limbaugh for decades. It is a strategy that Roger Ailes came up with while under Nixon. It is a strategy funded greatly by huge corporations and billionaires who want the smallest government possible that still services them as much as possible. It buys them some of the most loyal followers in politics, but unfortunately for them, it alienates far more. 2014 will prove that just as 2012 did.

To be fair, take Limbaugh and Ailes out of it, trade different media outlets, replace a few billionaires with different billionaires, and you have most of the Democrat party in a nutshell. There is no true liberal party in America, that much was certain when single payer was never discussed, the public option was dropped, and what we ended up passing was Republican reforms written into a bill by insurance and pharmaceutical companies, but somehow that makes us more communist than the old USSR and China combined. Buying private insurance from a public website? More socialist than Canada’s health care system. Yeah, whatever.

The bill is better than nothing but is a far cry from actual, total reform of our broken system.

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Jan January 13, 2014 at 9:42 am

I agree with everything you said, except the part where Obama’s race was not a factor. It is a factor and not an insignificant one.

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Jesus H. Christ! January 13, 2014 at 11:30 am

I don’t know. I’m old enough to remember how deranged with hate Republicans were for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Then again, Bill WAS the first black president.

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Roberto January 13, 2014 at 9:52 am

“When Reid has to change the filibuster rules just to get rid of 100%
obstruction of all judicial appointments, there is an undeniable air
that the GOP is trying everything possible to invalidate the 2008 and
2012 presidential election.”

really???

So when under the Bush administration, the Democrats did the SAME thing with judicial appointments, that was OK?

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Socialist Wonderland January 13, 2014 at 3:26 pm

“More socialist than Canada’s health care system.”

Having just come back from Canada over the holidays, I wish you could have been there to witness my brother-in-law whine about having to wait 6 hours to diagnose his 3 year old’s ear infection the day before Xmas, and the doctor refused to prescribe antibiotics over concern of their overuse.

And I quote, “Until his temperature gets to 104, we won’t prescribe them, if it does- go straight to the emergency room, don’t come here.”

I swear on my grandmothers grave to the above.

I asked him if there were any doctors that he could see with cash in hand to avoid 6 hour waits. “It’s illegal.”

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Tom January 13, 2014 at 6:12 am

Has anyone considered that any nullification bill will be made null and void by the US courts?

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Lake January 13, 2014 at 7:25 am

“What have we discovered? That no administration in South Carolina history has been as committed to ballooning this entitlement program as the administration of Gov. Nikki Haley.”

Makes one wonder why FITS will endorse Haley in 2014?

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Smirks January 13, 2014 at 8:31 am

Nullification wouldn’t come with any actual improvements to our health care in SC, so why does it matter? Why do Republicans want to destroy any and all improvements to the shitty health care system we have now and do absolutely nothing to improve what it used to be? Why does Haley have to push more money into Medicaid yet refuse to take an expansion that would be funded 90% by the feds?

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Whatever January 13, 2014 at 8:35 am

So carpet bagger Tom Davis and Company are getting paid off by blue cross blue shield. What a shock.

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idiotwind January 13, 2014 at 9:09 am

using quotation marks around the word “conservative” is understandable. i do it myself. most americans who call themselves ‘conservative’ have no idea what the word means. but using them around “republican” is pure nonsense. anyone who thinks they are a republican IS a republican. the party is defined by its members.

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Dictionary January 13, 2014 at 11:33 am

Fits seems to think “conservative” means “radical.”

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Tom January 13, 2014 at 9:58 am

How did the KKK miss this meeting. I guess their invitation was lost in the mail.

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William January 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

In my opinion the proper federal response to the nullification act as proposed by Fits is for the justice department to have any individual arresting anyone under the nullification act and charge them with kidnapping and assault; and indict the Governor and Attorney General as Co-conspirators and accessories after the fact. If SC law enforcement would like to intervene in their arrest, I’d suggest a contingent of Marines and a black ops extraction team.

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William January 13, 2014 at 10:18 am

Excuse me,
“for the justice department to have any individual arresting anyone under the nullification act arrested and charge them with”

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Rocky January 13, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Seems like just a lot of talk, nothing really, designed to get Tea Party faithful to part with their hard earned dollars into the pockets of GOP groups in the midst of a civil war against the establishment.

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