Health Care Nullification Bills Fail Across Country: Implementation Moving

Progressive States Network has a new analysis of the progress of state health care legislation which indicates the failure of conservative attempts to obstruct reform at the state level.  This resource, located at, will be updated as more sessions end.  Many more nullification bills are expected to fail this session, as state leaders and legislators across the country defeat the right-wing agenda attacking health care reform.

The key results so far:

  • 40 - Number of states claimed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to have "defended health care choice" through the actual or proposed introduction of health care nullification bills intended to "oppose Obamacare"
  • 4   - Number of states where health care nullification bills have actually passed
  • 14 and counting... - Number of states where health care nullification bills or constitutional amendments have failed

In recent months, the health insurance industry-funded ALEC has claimed that over 40 individual state legislatures have "defend[ed] health care choice" by being witnesses to the proposed or actual introduction of their model legislation in an attempt to nullify the recently passed federal reforms in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Despite their model legislation's patent unconstitutionality, ALEC has persisted in pushing nullification bills in state capitals across the nation, promising those who want to obstruct reform that they will "protect citizens from ObamaCare" and "stop ObamaCare at the state line."

In fact, nullification bills have already been rejected or failed to pass in at least fourteen states where ALEC claimed legislators would defy federal law.  ALEC style bills or proposed constitutional amendments have failed in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.

In other states where ALEC has claimed success, such as Montana, Rhode Island, and Texas, health care nullification bills have yet to even be introduced.  Nullification proposals have met significant opposition in states around the country; a few examples among these states:

  • In Iowa, the 2010 session ended with the House minority leader conceding the failure of conservative efforts to nullify federal health care reform.
  • In Arkansas, the 2010 session ended without action on a non-binding bill intended to "prevent involuntary enrollments in health care insurance programs."
  • In Delaware, legislative leaders directed a nullification effort to a committee described in a recent news report as a "favored burial ground for bills."
  • In North Dakota, a proposed constitutional amendment failed in 2009.
  • In Maryland and Michigan, attempts at nullification through constitutional amendments failed in committee

Notably, in Maine, where a nullification bill was not introduced, legislative leaders defeated a resolution promoted by conservatives calling on the Attorney General to join a lawsuit seeking to block the implementation of federal reform.

States Moving Forward on Implementation: While the right wing is focused on grandstanding and political gamesmanship, legislators and officials in all 50 states are moving forward with the hard work of planning the effective implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the state level. Many of these efforts began well before the passing and signing of federal reform, and will accelerate in the coming weeks and months as responsible leaders in the states focus on delivering quality, affordable healthcare to their constituents.

Here are just a few of the efforts publicly announced, although others are moving forward in states across the country (updated 4/13/10).  For more details on implementation, see

See our extended resources below, as well as resources opposing health care nullification efforts and supporting implementation in the states.

Opposing Health Care Nullification Efforts:

Health Care Implementation in the States: