A libertarian group is leading a charge to flood Gov. Gary Herbert's email inbox. The group is calling on him to call the Legislature into a special session to nullify President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The effort, which started on Monday, is being led by the newly formed Libertas Institute, a local libertarian think tank. Libertas created a form email that can be sent to the governor, but they allow for additional comments for those who want to add more to the form before sending it to Herbert's staff.
The letter calls the Affordable Care Act the federal government's latest intrusion on the rights of the states and urges Herbert to call the Legislature into a special session so the state can "vigorously resist" the nation's new health care plan.
"Obamacare is going to cost Utahns a lot of money in increased insurance premiums, increased taxes and penalties for small businesses that don't comply," said Michael Jolley, director for 10th Amendment studies at Libertas. "We are doing this to protect Utah from what we see as an unconstitutional bill."
Jolley acknowledged that the Supreme Court has ruled that the law is constitutional but argued that it could still be seen as a infringement on the 10th Amendment, which delegates all powers not listed in the U.S. Constitution to the states.
As of close of business Tuesday, the governor's office had received 389 of the group's emails calling for the special session; on Wednesday Libertas reported on its website that nearly 700 emails had been submitted to the governor. Those requests, though, may not be taken as seriously, as representatives from the governor's office said form letters aren't given much credence in Herbert's office. It was stated that a phone call or a personal email gets more attention.
The likelihood that a special session will be called to do anything about the state's involvement in the Affordable Care Act appears to be slim. Herbert's spokeswoman Ally Isom said there was no urgent political or policy reason for the Legislature to convene at this time. Legislators also have said they are in a wait-and-see-what-happens-in-the-November-election mode before deciding how to move forward with the issue.
That means those wishing for the state to act on the matter will have to wait until the Legislature's general session for the state to act on the Affordable Care Act. Legislative candidates like Brian Greene, who is the Republican nominee in District 57 in Pleasant Grove, have said they will address the issue during the 2013 session. Members of the Patrick Henry Caucus of the Legislature also have said they will look to pass legislation that deals with nullifying the Affordable Care Act.
While conservatives are pushing Herbert to move on the issue to nullify the law, another petition has emerged calling on Utah's legislators and Herbert to implement the Affordable Care Act. The petition is being hosted by SignOn.org. It states that Utah needs to ensure that people who need insurance have the opportunity to purchase health care at reasonable rates regardless of pre-exisiting conditions. More than 2,300 people have signed that petition.