In an action with major implications for health reform in Michigan, the state House has voted to turn down — at least for now — nearly $10 million in federal funds to create a statewide health exchange by 2014 to sell more affordable, standardized health insurance to consumers and small businesses.
The Michigan House’s action is consistent with what everyone from the American Legislative Exchange Council to the Heritage Foundation to the Cato Institute has recommended that states do: refuse to create an Exchange and send the money back to Washington.
Our friend Jack McHugh of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy writes:
Under the Michigan Constitution, no money can be spent by the state — including federal grant money — unless the Legislature passes an appropriation bill authorizing the spending…
House Republicans have shown no eagerness [to create a state Obamacare exchange], and that reluctance extended to this appropriation bill. In the colorful words of House Appropriations Chair Chuck Moss, R‑Birmingham, to MIRS News, “They’d rather be caught sacrificing to Satan than voting for Obamacare, so that’s the way it is.”
Jonathan Adler and I explain in this Wall Street Journal oped how Michigan officials can protect Michigan employers (including the state government itself) from penalties under Obamacare’s employer mandate — and even help bring down the entire law — by refusing to create an Exchange.