A bill proposing a constitutional amendment to protect any employer or health provider from being required to participate in the federally mandated health-care system passed out of the House Committee on Health and Welfare on Wednesday.?
House Bill 429 by Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, would prohibit employers from being penalized if they choose not to participate in a health-care plan. Under the Affordable Care Act, sometimes known as Obamacare, employers will be required to provide their employees with health insurance options or face a fine if they choose not to.
"My concerns focus on one thing: preserving the right of individuals, families, businesses, and health-care providers in Louisiana to continue to make their own decisions free of government coercion and government penalty," Hollis said.
The bill would allow voters to amend the Louisiana Constitution in a statewide election to be held in November of next year.
Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, said asking voters to weigh in every time the government decides to change the health-care laws sets a dangerous precedent.
"I just don't want to want to start a trend that every time (the Department of Health and Hospitals) decides to change a program, every time a member decides to offer a bill to change Medicaid that we're going push it to the corner of a constitutional amendment," Jackson said.
The bill was approved, 8-7. Reps. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, Kenny Cox, D-Natchitoches, A.B. Franklin, D-Lake Charles, Dorothy Hill, D-Dry Creek, Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, Harvey Lebas, D-Ville Platte, and Patrick Williams, D-Shreveport, voted against the measure.
It now heads to the Committee on Civil Law and Procedure for consideration.?