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October 21, 2013

If All Republicans Hate ObamaCare Equally, How Come Some Are Implementing It?

One of the refrains we heard ad nausium during the shutdown battle was that "all Republicans hate ObamaCare, it's just a fight over tactics". That might be true in Congress (though I have my doubts about how committed some are to fighting to repeal it) but there's a very different story going on in some of the states with Republican governors.

Just today, Ohio Governor John Kasich was able to ram through an expansion of Medicaid over the objection of the state's GOP legislature.

Senate President Keith Faber of Celina said, "I have repeatedly stated my opposition to the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio, but the governor made this decision without legislative approval...The governor has decided to take this action because he believes it's in the best interest of the state. While I respectfully disagree, this is not the end of the discussion.

Faber said the Senate still plans to cap spending growth and increase accountability for Medicaid spending.

He also said the Senate will also take immediate steps to recover approximately $400 million state tax dollars allocated to the health-care industry in the most recently enacted budget and give it to Ohioans for a tax cut. The Senate will be introducing legislation to rein in the Controlling Board's ability to make such sweeping adjustments in budget items that are better considered by the legislature as a whole."

Kasich isn't the only GOP Governor taking the ObamaCare "fee money" (the feds pay 100% of the cost of expanding the program for 3 years and eventually drop down to 90%).

Other Republican Governors taking the Medicaid money are Jan Brewer of Arizona, Rick Scott of Florida (he wants to but his legislature won't let him), Terry Branstad of Iowa, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota,

Four Republican Governors are actually running state based exchanges, Terry Branstad of Iowa, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Butch Otter of Idaho, and Brian Sandoval of Nevada.

Some will say that taking ObamaCare Medicaid money isn't really supporting ObamaCare but the way it's working out tells a very different story.

In 2014, nine million Americans gaining insurance through the health care law are expected to do so through Medicaid, according to the Congressional Budget Office, compared to seven million projected to get coverage through the exchanges.

The CBO estimates that Medicaid expansion alone will cost the federal government $710 billion over the next decade. If every state were to follow Kasich's lead and participate in the Medicaid expansion, that number would be closer to $1 trillion.

Defenders of these GOP governors no doubt will claim that their obligation as governors is different than what it would be if they were in Congress or heaven forbid, the White House.

Well, if you can't rouse yourself to oppose ObamaCare on principle, even if it means getting a few extra bucks for your state from the states next door, how can you claim to be a principled Republican, let alone conservative?

If "we all hate ObamaCare equally" and just differ on the tactics of getting rid of it, it's time for the GOP 'establishment" to make it clear that cooperating in the working of ObamaCare is beyond the pale and you shouldn't expect any support from the party.

Of course they won't do that. In fact the reality is likely to be just the opposite. As I've said before Chris Christie will be the 2016 nominee. Really, the only question is, will Susana Martinez or John Kasich be his running-mate?


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posted by DrewM. at 06:13 PM

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