Amendment #14 to H.3452
An amendment to request an opinion of the Honorable Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court
Representatives Winslow of Norfolk move that the bill be amended moves to amend the bill by striking the text contained therein and inserting in place thereof the following:-
“REQUEST OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FOR OPINION OF THE JUSTICES
Whereas, There is pending before the General Court a bill, House No. 3452, entitled "An Act Implementing the Affordable Care Act and Providing Further Access to Affordable Health Care", a copy of which is submitted herewith; and
Whereas, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts pursuant to its lawful sovereign authority previously enacted into law in 2006 a state-based system of universal healthcare, chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006, "An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care" (the "state program"); and
Whereas, Massachusetts was the only state in the Union to so exercise its sovereign authority prior to congressional adoption of the federally-based system of universal healthcare, 42 USC § 18001, et seq., "Affordable Care Act" (the "federal program"); and
Whereas, The General Court has not repealed the state program and Congress lacks authority to repeal the lawful acts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and
Whereas, The state program tailored to the needs of the people of Massachusetts and directly and proximately accountable to them which ensures access and quality of healthcare is preferable to the federal program which confers substantively no greater benefits, access or quality of care to Massachusetts residents; and
Whereas, The state program is less intrusive and better protects the privacy of Massachusetts residents from governmental collection and dissemination of personal data as the federal program allows the federal government to collect and share personal data it deems "reasonably necessary" to implement the federal program; and
Whereas, Grave doubt exists as to the need for legislative action on the bill in view of constitutional considerations, including state sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the effect of the federal program on the operation of the state program in the absence of repeal of the state program; therefore be it
Ordered, That the opinions of the Honorable Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court be required by the House of Representatives upon the following important questions of law:
1. Does the application of the federal program violate the state sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in view of Massachusetts' unique status as the only state in the Union with a state-based system of universal healthcare?
2. Does the federal program pre-empt the earlier enacted state program and, if so, is the preemption in whole or in part?
3. In view of the earlier enacted state program, does the federal program violate the provisions of the United States Constitution as applied to Massachusetts residents?”