State Round-Up

By Greg Scandlen

Next up in the struggle over ObamaCare are the states, which are expected to implement all of the garbage that came out of Congress. Unlike Members of Congress, the state governments are actually expected to know what they are doing. They don’t get to borrow trillions from the Chinese to hide their mistakes. And they are – what’s the word? Appalled? Dumfounded? Flummoxed? Aghast? – insert your own expression.

In any case, an article by David Lightman in the Miami Herald highlights many of the issues the states are dealing with, beginning with the insurance exchanges. Here California has already moved ahead with efforts to create an exchange, even though no one knows what the federal requirements will be or if the law will survive to 2014. But that’s okay, since California has lots of extra money to spend on frivolous things, right? In South Carolina, on the other hand, new governor Nikki Haley has no intention of spending money to implement an unconstitutional law, and the Attorney General of Wisconsin says after the Florida decision, the law is dead unless it is revived by an appellate court.

And then there is Medicaid expansion. Mitch Daniels in Indiana estimates it will cost his state up to $3 billion over the next ten years. We’ll be looking more closely at the Medicaid problem in a separate post.

The Republican Governors’ Association plans to “play a central role in organizing GOP governors against the law,” according to an article by Shane D’Aprile in The Hill.

The article also says,

Regardless of how the RGA’s effort shapes up, one potential GOP presidential hopeful is certain to play a leading role. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the outgoing chairman who helped raise record amounts of money for the committee this past cycle, is now the RGA’s policy chairman — a newly created position.

In that capacity, Barbour will be a high-profile liaison of sorts between GOP governors and the party’s leadership in Washington.

Haley Barbour is probably the savviest political strategist in the Republican Party today. It is doubtful he will go very far in the presidential race, but when it comes to finding the pressure points on a policy issue there is no one better.

The New York Times also discusses how the states will deal with the court ruling.  It writes,

“in a few states that are party to the litigation, Republican governors and attorneys general declared the expansive health care law effectively null as a result of the judge’s ruling. They suggested they would suspend planning and implementation until appeals courts could rule, although they did not provide details about what precisely might change or whether they would refund federal planning grants already awarded.

It quotes officials from Florida, Wisconsin and Idaho, but also says some Republican governors, especially Nathan Deal in Georgia, are more cautious. And, of course, Democrats like Vermont’s Peter Shumlin are “moving full speed ahead,” which is odd, since Vermont is also moving to set up a single payer system in that state.