The Wall Street Journal has weighed in on the controversy about whether states should set up their own exchanges and comes down solidly against “ObamaCare’s Faux Federalism.”
For those governors who think that they will have more flexibility if they set up their own ObamaCare exchanges, the Journal says: “HHS’s idea of flexibility is telling the states they can make the exchanges even more centralized and interventionist.” It is a bad deal, and as many as 30 states may decide to let the federal government set up the exchanges rather than take the blame for their likely failure.
Here are some key passages from the Journal editorial, followed by a link to the full article:
The “federalism” ruse is a special instance of bad faith. If federal-state cooperation means anything, then it requires some element of genuine state control and the freedom to innovate. The Health and Human Services Department is abusing the laboratories-of-democracy line as cover even as it prohibits states from doing experiments. And it’s dictating details down to the lab coats and microscopes.
The folks at HHS envision the exchanges as centralized, interventionist, hyper-regulatory bodies. HHS’s idea of flexibility is telling the states they can make the exchanges even more centralized and interventionist. But if they don’t agree to that model, then Washington will impose it anyway.
…The Affordable Care Act forces states to use their own personnel and resources to do federal bidding and blurs if not erases the lines of political accountability between levels of government.
The exchanges that will work aren’t going to be run by the government. Insurers including Blue Cross Blue Shield, WellPoint and Highmark already use internal exchanges for some of their retail products. ADP, AON Hewitt, eHealthinsurance and others connect employers and consumers with multiple plans through exchanges too. Private exchange are far more nimble and useful than whatever HHS is concocting.
The fact is that many Governors actively wanted to participate but were driven off by HHS’s coercive rules, chronic lack of communication, unrealistic deadlines and delusions of competence. Republicans like Chris Christie (New Jersey), Tom Corbett (Pennsylvania) and Bob McDonnell (Virginia) are moderate and practical Governors who couldn’t abide the Administration’s methods.
… Within three or four years the same people who passed ObamaCare will be talking about “solving” ObamaCare’s government-created problems with more government. The 26 Governors are merely saying they won’t be accomplices.