Oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (PPACA) senior members of Congress told the nation’s governors in a letter soon after the Supreme Court ruled the act constitutional.
In a letter to the National Governors Association (NGA), 12 Republican Senators and 62 Representatives, led by Sen. Jim DeMint-SC and Rep. Michele Bachmann-Minn., and Rep. Jim Jordan-OH. In the House, there are currently a majority 240 Republicans, and in the Senate, a minority 47 Republicans.
After stating a goal to fully repeal “this government takeover of healthcare,” the GOP Congressional team wrote, “most importantly, we encourage you to oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under the president’s discredited health care law,” the letter stated. Although it was upheld in practices by the High Court, Republicans in Washington are arguing that the individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause, as was indeed ruled, and will be implemented instead as a “punitive tax on the middle class.”
Rather than a mandate, the Congressional team says this ruling’s wording “presents us with a critical choice. Do we allow this reprehensible law to move forward or do we fully repeal it and start over with commonsense solutions?”
As many have written, most recently on political behavior adhering to acknowledged party positions in a piece in The New Yorker’s June 25 issue, the mandate was a brainchild of conservative healthcare expert Stuart Butler of The Heritage Foundation in 1989 as a rebuttal to the single-payer system, with the comparison not to having the government have people eat broccoli but to require passengers in automobiles to wear seat belts.
A few years later, Rep. John Chafee, R-RI, set sail, along with major Republican sponsors, with the idea, and it was this previous incarnation of the current mandate bill was seen as a lost chance after President Clinton’s efforts failed.
The Republicans in Congress are hedging their bets for control of Congress and/or the U.S. presidency in the upcoming November elections and hoping the exchanges won’t ever have to face the light of day when they are now slated to activate, in January 2014.
They are also in effect baiting the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to come make a health care exchange in the states, rather than letting a state waste its money for the same benefits.
The DeMint team is telling governors that it is in their best fiscal interest to refuse to begin an exchange by saying they will help lower the cost of doing business in their states if they refuse to create an exchange.
“Resisting the implementation of exchanges is good for hiring and investment,” they write. That’s because the law’s employer mandate permits federal premium assistance to citizens f states who create a state-based exchange.
However, the IRS recently finalized a regulation that does allow federal assistance to states that have not created exchanges.