Progress Report: The States Stand Up to ObamaCare
By Josh Withrow
This week, states faced what (for many of them) was a difficult decision – whether or not to implement a health care exchange to comply with ObamaCare. The way the administration put it, the states had an easy decision: either set up their own exchanges and have control over how the new law governed insurance, or cede that control to the feds. They had until November 16th to decide.
But that was a false choice. Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, in rejecting a state-run exchange, said it best, “A state exchange puts the burden onto the states and the expense onto our taxpayers, without giving the state the authority and flexibility we must have to best meet the needs of the people of Maine.”
As FreedomWorks’ health care guru Dean Clancy has been saying for months, there is much more at stake for all the states than who bears the cost of these new exchanges. Under the health care law, the federal government cannot legally distribute the health care premium subsidies or enforce the insurance mandates that are crucial to operating ObamaCare. In other words, if enough states opt out of the exchanges, ObamaCare is in trouble.
With the November 16th deadline approaching, several states seemed to be wavering in their opposition to health care exchanges. The grassroots were fired up and up to the challenge, however, and used FreedomWorks’ Action Center to send over 18,000 messages to their governors and top state legislators, urging them to keep out of ObamaCare’s exchanges.
Several states which were uncertain announced shortly before the deadline that they intended to abstain from setting up an exchange. One such state was Wisconsin, where FreedomWorks activists sent over 1,200 emails to Governor Scott Walker. Another was Florida, whose residents sent almost 3,000 emails supporting Gov. Rick Scott, who is under tremendous pressure to go back on his earlier declaration that Florida would not set up an exchange.
Of special note is Ohio, where Governor John Kasich recently reaffirmed his stance against state exchanges. Last year, a huge coalition of grassroots activists, with strong ground support from FreedomWorks, succeeded in getting a state constitutional amendment passed that effectively crippled any health exchange by making health care mandates illegal.
With so many states opting out of the exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services extended the deadline to December 14th for states to participate. Fortunately, so far twenty states have stepped up and declared that they have no intention of setting up a state-run health care exchange. However, seven states have yet to announce their decision on exchanges, and it is important that resident of those states keep the pressure on their state officials to stand against the exchanges. The remaining states are:
Residents of states which have opted out of exchanges must also continue to be vigilant that their governors do not succumb to the pressure to change their minds, or to enter a “partnership exchange” with the federal government.
But so far, so good.
**Update – On Nov. 19th, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared that she would not instruct her state to implement a health care exchange. That leaves six states yet to decide.