by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The latest Bloomberg Businessweek focuses attention on an issue of importance to Republican governors and legislatures across the country: the future of Obamacare.
Republicans who were counting on a repeal of the law are agonizing over whether to finally embrace it and even tussling with their own party members over what to do next. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Tea Party favorite from Virginia, has called for trimming Obamacare as part of the fiscal cliff talks. But states have to tell Washington by Dec. 14 if they’ll set up their own exchanges, the online marketplaces where uninsured consumers will shop for health coverage. If they refuse, the federal government will do it for them. “The supreme irony is that these are the states that complained the most about a government takeover of their health-care system,” says John Gorman, a health-care industry consultant. “That’s exactly what they are going to get because of their inaction.”
Only Washington, D.C., and 17 states, mostly led by Democrats, plan to run their own exchanges, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Six others want to partner with the federal government to set up and run the insurance markets. Ten more, mostly Republican-led, are undecided. Seventeen states, most of them red, prefer that Washington take over—figuring that’s better than doing anything that might be construed as endorsing Obamacare.
John Hood analyzed this issue recently on N.C. Spin.