At 2 p.m. today, the NC House will debate H2, Protect Healthcare Freedom, on the floor. This bill seeks to excuse North Carolinians from certain aspects of ObamaCare, especially the individual mandate provision to buy health insurance. The House version has added a fiscal note, explaining any costs associated with the last provision of the bill, in which the Attorney General could bring suit against the federal government to enforce the state law resulting from this bill. The Attorney General would have two options: either have North Carolina join the existing Florida lawsuit or have North Carolina file its own independent suit. Under the first version, Florida is not requiring cost sharing from other participating states, though Florida does allow for optional contributions.
So far, Florida has capped its outside counsel expenses at $50,000 and other state’s optional contribution to $5,000. If counsel expenses require an increased cap, other states may also contribute more, but contributions are not mandatory. Thus, North Carolina’s legal costs could remain relatively low.
In addition, the Senate has introduced its own version of the bill, S23 Protect Healthcare Freedom, which expands upon the House version. President Pro Tem Phil Berger defended the bills as he addressed the NC Chamber of Commerce Tuesday: “We think that it has something to do with jobs. We think that has something to do with economic climate. We think that legislation has a lot to do with whether businesses can be competitive. But we also think it has a lot to do with pressures on our state budget.”
If you’re in Raleigh, you can watch the debate live. To hear the audio live, click here and look under House of Representatives, “Chamber Audio.”