Friday, December 9th, 2016

States opting out of Obamacare

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When Wisconsin’s attorney general JB Van Hollen said he wanted to join with other states in challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, his Democratic critics complained that Van Hollen just wanted to waste time and money for political gain.  Given the ruling by Judge Vinson, suddenly Van Hollen’s desire to join the case has to look reasonable even to Democrats – well, to reasonable Democrats.

Just wait until they hear that Obamacare is dead in Wisconsin.

But if you want to see the politics of Obamacare repeal brought down to the state level, Senators Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) have a plan to do just that.

The State Health Care Choice Act would let state governments choose whether or not to participate in various aspects of Obamacare, including: the individual mandate forcing citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a fine, the employer mandate forcing businesses to provide health insurance or pay a fine, the mandated expansion of state Medicaid programs and the federal mandate determining what qualifies as an ‘acceptable’ health-insurance plan.

The bill’s authors are not shy about the intended effects. Among them,

“The politics of this is without limit,” Graham said. “It takes the debate and it makes it part of every state house race in 2012, it makes it part of every governor’s campaign in 2012, and this is exactly what’s been missing in the past — a robust debate outside of Washington.”

“If states could speak, I am confident that a majority of Americans, through their state legislators, if they had the chance, would opt out of these provisions,” he added. “And we’ll never know until we have that vote.”

It wasn’t that long ago that State Senate Democrats in Wisconsin proposed Healthy Wisconsin, a huge tax increase to fund universal health care in Wisconsin. When the Democrats failed to include it in the state budget, they ran like mad from their own proposal. I’m sure Wisconsin’s Democrats really do not want the fight over Obamacare brought into state legislature races.

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