Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Repealing Health Care Reform...

...a little at a time.

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers announced a job creation health care repeal bill yesterday. Entitled the State Flexibility Act, it basically allows states to lower the Medicaid requirements to reduce the number of people on Medicaid. Read the text of the bill and you'll find it does this by repealing the maintenance of effort states are supposed to maintain until the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014.

“When it comes to Medicaid (and most issues) ‘the government closest to the people is the best form of government,’” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers at a press conference unveiling the bill. “Our bill follows that principle to make America’s 50 states ‘laboratories of democracy’ in which new ideas for health care spending will have a chance to take effect and the best ideas will win.”

Her best idea is to kick poor people to the curb and make hospitals absorb the cost of the uninsured. Sounds like a win-win proposition.


Anonymous said...

Would her bill allow Vermont and other states to adopt single-payer?

Currently, the Obama administration is quashing any attempts by states to try single-payer, while giving waivers to McDonalds for insurance that simply cheats poor workers.

I'm sure her intentions aren't good, but the current hcr is, at best, a mixed bag.

Phil said...

McMorris-Rogers bums me out. But The President and the current crop of Dem's isn't nearly progressive like voters thought they'd be. In Spokane, I'm so far left it's mind boggling.

Hank Greer said...


I'm not aware that the Obama administration is against Vermont's proposed single payer system. From what I've read, he wants to grant exceptions to states that want to try things out.


I know what you mean. The health care reform that was adopted was really close to the version proposed by Republicans back during the Clinton administration.

Anonymous said...

He grants exceptions to corporations, not states, not that I know of. He doesn't have the power.

He has said he'd work with Vermont's plan, but I don't put much stock into it. We know Obama opposed not only single payer, but even the public option (despite public assurances otherwise). He has only said he'd allow a state-based single payer since the Republicans took over the House (or more specifically, since March this year).

Obama's HCR does not allow states to opt out of the structures of HCR (it expressly forbids it), and it's not clear that Obama CAN grant a state waiver for single payer on the Vermont model without congressional action. So, he's got nothing to lose really by saying now, belatedly, that he supports single payer. This may well be the game Democrats always play--support progressive policies when Republicans hold the power to block them, then oppose them when Dems hold power.

That's why Republican support for state experimentation may actually be necessary for single payer.

I'll be happy to say I'm wrong, but I think Obama is just telling another lie. He ridiculed single payer, and progressives, just before the election.

The only reasoning I can see that may have made him authentically change his mind is the constitutional challenge to the invidivual mandate. Tax-based single payer is obviously constitutional, unlike the novel power claimed by the feds in Obamacare. Another indication that the administration is seeking backup has to do with delegating some powers to the states to endrun the Constitutional restriction on the Feds--maybe that's what you're thinking of, but those changes don't really amount to state opt-outs, imho.

It will be interesting, particularly if the court strikes down the mandate, which seems increasingly likely.

Anonymous said...

Medicaid funding is more of a conflict between state governments and the federal government than between the Democrats and Republicans.

The poor would have been better off by tying increased costs to increased federal taxes on the wealthy. The insistence on neutral federal costs just added to the strain on the states, many which have less budget leeway.

Hank Greer said...

It will be interesting to see how the Commerce clause is applied to the individual mandate.