In South Carolina, Democrat keeps Obamacare at arm's length
December 4th, 2013
01:32 PM ET
11 months ago

In South Carolina, Democrat keeps Obamacare at arm's length

(CNN) – How will red state Democrats handle Obamacare as a hot-button campaign issue in 2014?

Here's a small clue.

In South Carolina, Democratic state Rep. Bakari Sellers, who is running for lieutenant governor next year, filed a bill Wednesday to "lessen the burden" of the medical device tax on South Carolina businesses. The bill was "pre-filed," meaning it will be taken up next year when the legislative session begins in Columbia.

Sellers' bill would provide a tax credit to companies in the state developing or manufacturing medical devices, essentially reimbursing them for the tax, a vital source of funding for the Affordable Care Act.

"The federal government has created far too many impediments for businesses to grow and prosper," Sellers said in a statement announcing the legislation. "It is time to lessen the regulatory burden on companies not increase it."

In a follow-up interview, Sellers chuckled when asked if he supports the Affordable Care Act in its entirely. "That's a loaded question," he said.

But Sellers, whose mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, said he agreed with elements of the legislation, specifically its effort to expand access to health insurance and cover people with pre-existing conditions, a serious problem in his small town district. Sellers said he is also pleased to see improvements to the HealthCare.gov web site.

But as a Democrat running statewide in South Carolina-a state that voted for Mitt Romney last year by 10 points-talking about Obamacare "is not really a debate we want to have, to be honest with you," he said.

"On the whole, I can tell you there are certain aspects of Obamacare which give me trepidation, and I can't tell you everything that's in it, because I'm not certain anyone can, outside of Kathleen Sebelius or someone at HHS," Sellers said. "But I think the medical device tax is a burden, and if we do something like this, it can give us an economic edge."

This, mind you, is coming from a leading member of Obama's campaign during the 2008 South Carolina primary fight. Sellers, a 29-year-old African-American attorney and one of the state's rising political stars, is certain to be a key player in South Carolina's 2016 Democratic primary.

"I have to get people to understand that my name is Bakari and not Barack," he said.


Filed under: Obamacare • South Carolina
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Donna

    Democrats EVERYWHERE will be asked if they support Obamacare or not. Come on Democrats! Wear that scarlet O with pride! Why wouldn't you if Obamacare was as good as you claim it is? Yes, stand tall and tell the truth for once in your life. Tell the American people you support a law that cancels their healthcare insurance, takes away their doctor, takes away their hospital, then charges them 2-3 times as much. I double dog dare you!

    December 4, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Does this guy realize that he's advocating a measure to "defund" the ACA. The tax revenue goes directly towards the ACA.

    The medical device tax was suggested by, and agreed to, by the leading organizations in the medical device industry. They acknowledged that they will see their business boom in response to the ACA, and were willing to pay a higher tax for some other concessions.

    December 4, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Some democrats appear to be just as dumb as republicans.

    December 4, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. Gunderson

    Humm,
    Asking some people if they support "Dummy Care" is like asking them if they support a long aggravating painful death. Kinda like that democrat congressman from Alabama that seconded Obama's first nomination for president and turned republican. You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Defund "Putin Care"? Well maybe that may not be necessary. It is slowly dying a long aggravating painful death as we speak.

    December 4, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. just asking

    Rudy NYC
    Does this guy realize that he's advocating a measure to "defund" the ACA. The tax revenue goes directly towards the ACA.
    The medical device tax was suggested by, and agreed to, by the leading organizations in the medical device industry. They acknowledged that they will see their business boom in response to the ACA, and were willing to pay a higher tax for some other concessions.
    -–

    you do realize that every single penny that a business makes comes from their paying customers right? additional taxes on them are simply passed on to the customer, you and i. the fallacy of 'business taxes' just keeps getting spread by the clueless left.

    December 4, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep It

    I would like an alternative where shopping for insurance plans across state lines is allowed, tort reform is included and provisions are made to help individuals with pre-existing conditions. And most of all, I want the federal government to have as little to do with it as humanly possible.

    The Democrat who has the courage to say Obamacare is a disaster and needs substantial revision will probably be re-elected.

    December 4, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    @donna do you know a three hospital simple procedure costs 18,000 dollars. ACA is a Law, you better put up or shut up.

    December 4, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Richard Long

    Obamacare = OWN IT!

    December 4, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. CryBabies

    Now why would a Democrat do that at this time? Because this Democrat has more brains than the President. Good for him!

    December 4, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Jon

    If I lived in S.C. I wouldn't vote for a person who is unwilling to fully support the ACA. Yes, there are problems that should be fixed, maybe the device tax is one of them.

    But one must have courage in their convictions. So Baraki, if not the ACA...then what's your solution to the problem of the under/un-insured.

    December 4, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Ol' Yeller

    Now why would a Democrat do that at this time? Because Democrats think for themselves and unlike the republicants they don't toe the party line set forth in talking points and orders from their masters the koch brothers.

    December 4, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. Donna

    Gurgyl
    @donna do you know a three hospital simple procedure costs 18,000 dollars. ACA is a Law, you better put up or shut up.
    --

    But I won the lottery last week and have $200 million in my bank account. $18,000 is chump change. I'll pay it $100 bills before I leave! But I am forced to buy healthcare insurance? Makes no sense, except for a one size fits all socialist disaster.

    Why is it the Democrats and lefties use the word "choice" when it comes to killing babies with abortion but don't want everybody else to have a "choice" about what they need when it comes to healthcare insurance?

    December 4, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    -your Asa's is a socialistic, so is Medicare, so is unemployment benefit,
    So are food coupons, so is Senate earmark, so is filibuster theory, etc. Little brain, read. GOP garbage don't spew venom. God bless.

    December 4, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. Peppy

    Over 3 years and bammy couldn't even get a website up, its clear, always has been, hes in over his head. If its the law like you all claim, why can bammy keep changing it ??? What a jester this pres has become. The joke of the world.

    December 4, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Ol' Yeller

    Now why would a Democrat do that at this time? Because Democrats think for themselves and unlike the republicants they don't toe the party line set forth in talking points and orders from their masters the koch brothers.
    --------------------------–
    Wasn't it South Carolina where the Republican Party had managed to get a phony candidate on the Democratic primary ballot, just a few years ago? I remember no one had ever heard of the guy, and he was ill-prepared for public office.

    December 4, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. sonkarlay

    Good luck with that

    December 4, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Tony D

    YIKES!! A Democrat with a functioning brain! I never thought I'd live to see the day!

    December 4, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. The REAL Truth...

    @just asking – you do realize that every single penny that a business makes comes from their paying customers right? additional taxes on them are simply passed on to the customer, you and i. the fallacy of 'business taxes' just keeps getting spread by the clueless left.
    -----------------------------
    Yeah but when a Republican Gov touts his tax reduction skills/efforts (Rick Perry cut property taxes in TX) while neglecting to mention that he also raised the Business Franchise Tax a corresponding amount (hurting small business startups and passing the cost along to the consumer) it's OK?
    Why does the right always try to blame the other side??

    December 4, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. tom l

    @Ol Yeller (who ain't my friend)
    "Now why would a Democrat do that at this time? Because Democrats think for themselves and unlike the republicants they don't toe the party line set forth in talking points and orders from their masters the koch brothers."

    Classic. Mr. Yeller has clearly forgotten that every dem voted in lockstep for the ACA as well as everything else. Because "wanting affordable healthcare for all" isn't a talking point. Goodness gracious.

    December 4, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. tom l

    After the reading the comments from Rudy and Tampa Tim with regards to Mr. Sellers bid to become the lieutenant governor of South Carolina it is so obvious to me that they just can't stand seeing a black man in that office. So sad. How dare you say something negative about him when it's so clear that all you care about is the color of his skin.

    December 4, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. The REAL Truth...

    Donna – Why is it the Democrats and lefties use the word "choice" when it comes to killing babies with abortion but don't want everybody else to have a "choice" about what they need when it comes to healthcare insurance?
    ---------------------------------------–
    Why is it the Republicans and righties use the words "life" when they want to impose their religious anti-abortion beliefs on everyone, but don't want to fund education for those lives and are happy to send them off to war as cannon fodder...

    December 4, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Gurgyl

    @donna do you know a three hospital simple procedure costs 18,000 dollars. ACA is a Law, you better put up or shut up.
    -------–
    I'd like to know where you get your numbers from. My husband had a hernia repair earlier this year, with an overnight stay, and the total bill before insurance was nowhere near $18,000.. and we live in Massachusetts, where it's very expensive for hospitals. Did you get that number from your DNC talking points? Did you make it up? Or just tell us WHERE you got it.

    December 4, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |