Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Red state governors: Not my problem if people lose their health coverage

At least five red state governors have vowed not to offer a fix if the King v. Burwell ruling unravels the federal exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act in their states. Reuters has the details:
In response to Reuters' queries, spokespeople for the Republican governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and Wisconsin said the states were not willing to create a local exchange to keep subsidies flowing. Republicans argue that Obamacare is unacceptable government intervention that raises costs for consumers and businesses…

State government officials in Georgia, Missouri, Montana and Tennessee - a mix of Republicans and Democrats - said that opposition by majority Republican state legislators could make it all but impossible to set up a new exchange.

So that's nine states altogether where Republicans are ready to stand by and watch as hundreds of thousands of their constituents go uninsured—1.4 million people in those states have signed up for coverage through the ACA in 2015. Another 5.1 million are covered in the other 25 states whose federal exchanges would be dismantled should the King plaintiffs prevail.

But let's keep a record of the politicians who have zero regard for the welfare of the people in their states. Not surprisingly, some of the most adamant statements have come from GOP presidential hopefuls like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Nikki Haley of South Carolina (maybe not a 2016 candidate, but often mentioned as a future possibility for the GOP).

Wisconsin—Gov. Scott Walker on providing a fix

"That responsibility doesn't fall in the hands of the states or the governors, it falls in the hands of the leaders right here in Washington," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told reporters.
Now, there's a vision in leadership.

South Carolina—Gov. Nikki Haley ready to pin the fix on federal lawmakers

Taking her leadership cues from Walker, Haley suggested it's the federal government's job to find health insurance for her constituents, not hers.

“You’re going to hear the governors be very loud about this,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told the Post.
Wow, that's gotta be comforting for SC residents.

Her spokesperson was even more explicit about Haley's fixation on turf wars versus the welfare of her constituents.

"State exchanges are the federal government's way of sticking states with the cost and responsibility of a massive new bureaucratic program," said Chaney Adams, a spokeswoman for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

"The right decision was made for South Carolina, and Governor Haley would make it again today."

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