Nathan Stubbs

Legislator aims to ‘protect' state from health care reform

by Nathan Stubbs

Backlash to President Obama’s proposed reforms to the nation’s health care system is in full throttle in Louisiana, to the point where the state legislature may consider a constitutional amendment to try to opt out of the changes. The Advocate reports that state Rep. Kirk Talbot, a Republican from River Ridge, said yesterday that he is looking to propose a constitutional amendment in next year’s legislative session to “protect” the state from proposals currently being considered in Washington. President Obama has said he wants health care reform passed by the end of the year.

Talbot told the paper his constitutional amendment would say “Everybody in Louisiana has the right to buy their own insurance, get into the plan of their own choosing.” National Democrats have called for the creation of a publicly run health insurance option, to compete with the private sector in an effort to keep costs down. The change would still allow anyone to buy health insurance of their own choosing; however, some workers may find their employers switching to the public option if the plan can help them save costs. The plan would also issue tax penalties to businesses that don’t provide their employees a set level of coverage.

“This is kind of a way to throw the gauntlet down and stand up for ourselves as a state,” Talbot tells The Advocate. “I think you will see other states following next trying to exert their state independence."