It is becoming apparent even to members of the party that gave us ObamaCare that helping to implement the law by establishing a health insurance Exchange is a bad deal for states. Yesterday, NewHampshireWatchdog.org reported:
Governor Lynch blocks Health Insurance Exchange for NH
(CONCORD) Governor John Lynch [D] this morning signed legislation blocking implementation of a health insurance exchange in New Hampshire. The Obama Administration has been urging states to set up exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare.
Lynch has supported setting up a New Hampshire exchange, including the proposal in his State of the State address in February. Senate legislation setting up an exchange, SB 163, won Committee approval in January before stalling on the Senate floor. Opponents argued that a state-run exchange would put New Hampshire taxpayers on the hook for the costs of administering much of the federal health care law, while giving the state little flexibility from federal mandates.
Representative Andrew Manuse (R-Derry) introduced HB 1297 to prevent state officials from setting up an exchange without legislative approval. Josiah Bartlett Center President Charlie Arlinghaus led the charge for the bill, arguing that if federal officials wanted to set up a New Hampshire insurance exchange, they could pay for it themselves. (The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy is the parent organization of New Hampshire Watchdog.)
Under the new law, state health and insurance officials may share information with their federal counterparts but may not take any steps to implement a state-controlled insurance marketplace.
Governor Lynch’s office did not respond to requests for comment on HB 1297.
It does not speak well of ObamaCare that Democrats are heading for the exits.
In this video, I explain why all states should flatly refuse to create an ObamaCare Exchange:
For the true ObamaCare junkies, I include my oral and written remarks to New Hampshire legislators back in February about the dangers of creating an ObamaCare Exchange (non-junkies should just stick to the above video):
And let's not forget Jonathan Adler's latest take:
Jonathan H. Adler is the Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University. In this new Cato Institute video, Adler explains how a recently finalized IRS rule implementing ObamaCare taxes employers without any statutory authority.
For more, see this previous Cato video, "States Should Flatly Reject ObamaCare Exchanges":
See also our November 2011 op-ed on this IRS rule that appeared in the Wall Street Journal.
Here's a poor, unsuccessful letter I sent to the editor of the Washington Post:
"GOP stalls on insurance marketplaces" [May 12] reports that "the conservative firm Leavitt Partners...is working with a number of states on their plans" to create the government bureaucracies that the new health care law calls insurance "exchanges."
The article should have informed readers that this "conservative firm" (whatever that means) is a for-profit government contractor that makes money by helping states create those exchanges, and is acting against the advice of the nation's leading conservative think tank. The Heritage Foundation counsels states not to create exchanges, and to send all related funds back to Washington.
Finally, the article claims states can avoid a "federal takeover" by creating an exchange. On the contrary, the law requires state-run exchanges to obey all federal edicts, just as a federal exchange would. The federal takeover has already happened. States that create their own exchanges merely pay for the privilege of losing their sovereignty.
Today, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) became the latest governor to throw sand in the gears of ObamaCare, issuing an eleventh-hour veto of a bill to create an ObamaCare Exchange in New Jersey. An excerpt from his veto message:
While I am unwilling to approve the establishment of a statewide health insurance exchange at this time, I am mindful that the requirements of the Affordable Care Act still stand today and I intend to fully oversee New Jersey’s compliance in a responsible and cost-effective manner should its constitutionality ultimately be upheld by the Supreme Court... My Administration will continue this work and stands ready to implement the Affordable Care Act if its provisions are ultimately upheld.
Christie suggests he isn't yet convinced that Exchanges are per se harmful. He also seems to suggest that if the Supreme Court upholds the law, creating an Exchange might be the best course for the state and that refusing to do so would put the state out of compliance with federal law--neither of which is true. But the veto message contains enough wiggle room for Christie to come out hard against any future ObamaCare Exchange.
Here's hoping the Supreme Court renders all of this moot.
According to WSFA-12 News, Alabama legislators are working on legislation to create an ObamaCare Exchange. But:
Governor Robert Bentley [R] will likely veto the bill.
"This legislation is premature. The federal government has yet to establish clear guidelines for a health insurance exchange," said Deputy Communications Director Jeremy King, in a statement to WSFA 12 News. "Also, the federal government has extended some deadlines for putting an exchange together. Plus, the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the constitutionality of the federal health care law. If Supreme Court justices strike down the law as the Governor hopes they will, there will be no need for such an exchange. Either way, there is no need to establish an exchange at this point," the statement went on to say.
"Doing so without clear guidance from Washington would simply be a guessing game. Also, there would still be time in the 2013 session to set up an exchange if the law is upheld. If this legislation is approved in the current session, a veto can be expected."
Full story and video here.
Here's the story from WIUS, the NPR affiliate at the University of Illinois Springfield:
A health exchange is one of the main initial components of the Affordable Care Act.
It’s basically a table of insurance plans people who don’t currently have coverage could choose from once the national health care law hits its stride. If it ever does.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in March challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare.
“I’ve suspended the talks on the Illinois insurance exchange until the Supreme Court makes its decision, which we expect in June,” Rep. Frank Mautino (D- Spring Valley), who has been leading Illinois’ talks to set up the exchange, said.
“As the negotiator, it’s very difficult to have … businesses – decide how much they’re willing to pay to run an exchange, when the federal law may go away. So I’ve lost a lot of the strength of negotiation,” he said.
Controversial aspects include who’ll run the exchange, how much power insurance companies will get, and who’ll pay for it.
About 50 organizations, including insurance companies, business groups, and health care advocates had been meeting weekly.
Audio is also available here.
Democrats control the executive and legislative branches of government in Illinois.