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GOP Backs Obamacare


Grassroots support for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act “fix” is coming from an unexpected source: insurance commissioners of states with Republican governors. The NYT has the breakdown:

Of the 13 states that have so far said they will allow consumers to renew canceled plans, all but four are led by Republican governors and have generally been opposed to the new health care law. Of the eight that have said they will not carry out the policy, six are in Democratic-led states, many of which have actively worked to put the law into effect and have argued that allowing such an extension could undermine its success. They include New York, which announced its decision on Tuesday, and Massachusetts. Many other states, including California and New Jersey, are still weighing their options.

The immediate cynical reaction to this story would be to read it as another attempt to hobble the Affordable Care Act. Since many industry experts are predicting the “fix” will further destabilize the insurance marketplaces, it would make sense for those to oppose to the law to make sure the fix goes through. The Democratic resistance to the fix could then be read as an attempt to protect the law from further crises—all while giving Obama the ability tamp down public opposition with a toothless fix his supporters won’t enforce.

But it turns out something even more complicated is going on. An under-reported fact about Obama’s fix is that, in fact, states already had some ability to extend plans slated for cancellations. Many Republican-led states had already given the go-ahead for plan extensions even before Obama encouraged everyone to do so, including Florida, Oklahoma, Utah, Mississippi, and New Mexico. As a result, those states experienced less disruptions and cancellations than the rest of America.

In an ironic twist, it turns out that the states who best kept Obama’s “like it, keep it” promise were GOP-led. On the state-level at least Republican governments have been doing the very thing ACA supporters have claimed no conservatives have been doing: working to improve the law and its rollout.

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  • Bruce

    These Repubs aren’t working to “improve the law.” They are trying to give the people a temporary fix until the political leadership in the country changes and this affront to our Republic can be repealed. Most of us resent Roberts allowing this to go in to effect, but he wanted this to be resolved legislatively and that’s probably what will happen in the long run. That said, it’s his job to protect the Constitution and he failed.

    • Andrew Allison

      I beg to differ. What Roberts did was to affirm the the penalty for not having insurance was an exercise of the power to tax; thereby giving the lie to the “it’s not a tax” lie which, along with all the other lies, got this abomination passed.

      • Corlyss

        But how could Roberts have allowed a tax to go forward when it was not fashioned according to Congress’ rules for creating taxes. There’s very specific steps taxes have to go thru that other legislation does not. He SHOULD have returned it to Congress to make the tax conform to the regular process. Since he didn’t, I’m inclined to think Bruce’s analysis is more like correct: Roberts wanted a legislative fix to Obamacare. He just went about it clumsily.

        I’ve also heard a rumor that he was running scared that he would be outed for an illegal adoption and that was held over his head to make him switch his vote. That hardly seems like the stuff of political blackmail, but what do I know.

        • Andrew Allison

          If it looks like a tax, smells like a tax, and is collected by the IRS, then it probably is a tax. The fact that they called it something else doesn’t affect its constitutionality.
          The purported blackmail, on the other hand doesn’t pass the smell test — succumbing would simply open the door to future blackmail.

          • Corlyss

            I can’t agree with the substance. Form matters in SOME cases. Taxes is one of them. SCOTUS has bounced taxes that failed the process test back for the correct processing. E.g., revenue bills must originate in the House. That sort of thing.

    • Corlyss

      If I thought Republicans had a brain among them, it would be found in the governors and certainly not in the clowns in Congress. Having said that, I suspect there’s more than a little malice in the governors’ apparent willingness to help the Dims out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into. Doing what the president wants on the “unsat” policies will do several things, but it won’t save Obamacare. It will 1) exacerbate the chaos in the industry; 2) cause the risk pools in Obamacare to fill up with sick and elderly which will drain the money right out of the beast; 3) satisfy their affected voters positively, which usually gets you votes; 4) demonstrate a flexibility and agility that serves Our Federalism very nicely.

  • Boritz

    But it turns out something even more complicated is going on. -VM
    Coverage seemed a lot less machiavellian before. We have succeeded in adding another layer of intrigue and triple crosses.

  • kentlyon

    Mr. Mead fails to emphasize at the end of this piece that by enabling the continuation of existing policies, in contravention of Obamacare, Republican governors are NOT working to improve the law and its rollout, but preserving the private insurance market for current insurance policy approaches (including high-deductible catastrophic policies that appeal to the young due to their low premiums) while at the same time allowing holders of such policies (young and healthy) to stay out of Obamacare exchanges, thereby seriously undermining Obamacare. While he makes that point earlier, he seems to contradict himself at the end of his post. Less disruption of the private insurance market was not the intent of Obamacare (Obama’s promises and protestations to the contrary notwithstanding). The intent was disruption and destruction of that market. Republican governors are thus working against the rollout of Obamacare, which was intended to be highly disruptive. These Republican governors have done a service for their citizens, but not for Obamacare. Citizens of such states will be happier than they would have been if their policies had been cancelled, Blue States that oppose the “fix” will create more disruption and distress for citizens (who may turn against Obama and Democrats) along with higher costs, if they can get coverage at all, or will suffer the ignominy of being forced onto Medicaid (short for “Medical Apartheid”) which, although initially paid for by the Federal government, will dramatically increase costs to taxpayers, first federal, then state taxpayers, leading to more fiscal problems across the nation.

    • Corlyss

      I think we had the same thoughts, Ken. See my comment below.

  • marktomark


  • Cromulent

    Great Lies:

    The check is in the mail.
    The Right killed JFK.
    The GOP backs Obamacare.

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