| November 13, 2012

Heritage, Cato, OCPA analysts: Continue to fight Obamacare at every turn

OCPA fiscal policy director Jonathan Small has long argued against expanding Medicaid as provided for under Obamacare. I commend to your attention his excellent new article in the Oklahoma Gazette (“Medicaid expansion is the new SQ 744”) in which he explains why common education, higher education and various other tax consumers in Oklahoma should wake up to the dangers posed by Medicaid expansion.

Now you may ask: Given President Barack Obama’s reelection, what’s the point of resisting Obamacare now? After all, conventional wisdom says the law will now stay on course. But Heritage Foundation analyst Nina Owcharenko says this is “another example of the left’s wishful thinking.” Owcharenko (pictured here at OCPA) gives several reasons that “Obamacare is not here to stay.” Among them:

The states can and will have their say. Two of the largest elements of the health care law—the massive Medicaid expansion and the costly subsidies scheme funneled through government exchanges—are heavily dependent on state compliance. But the June Supreme Court decision reaffirmed that states are not at the mercy of the federal government. Many state officials realize that there is little upside to joining forces with Washington in implementing this disastrous endeavor, thus further eroding the long-term viability of Obamacare.

Major lawsuits are moving ahead. The recent Supreme Court decision was not the only lawsuit against Obamacare. There are a number of lawsuits making their way through the federal courts. The anti-conscience mandate requiring virtually all employers to finance abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception undercuts religious freedom. Today, there are already 40 suits representing more than 100 plaintiffs against it. An Oklahoma lawsuit raises a new legal question on the employer and individual penalties. More suits will certainly follow as more of the law is exposed.

Small and Owcharenko are not alone. Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, says “now is not the time to go wobbly. Obamacare is still harmful and still unpopular.”

President Obama has won reelection, and his administration has asked state officials to decide by Friday, November 16, whether their state will create one of Obamacare’s health-insurance “exchanges.” States also have to decide whether to implement the law’s massive expansion of Medicaid. The correct answer to both questions remains a resounding no.

State-created exchanges mean higher taxes, fewer jobs, and less protection of religious freedom. States are better off defaulting to a federal exchange. The Medicaid expansion is likewise too costly and risky a proposition. Republican Governors Association chairman Bob McDonnell (R.,Va.) agrees, and has announced that Virginia will implement neither provision.

Cannon gives 13 compelling reasons not to create exchanges, not the least of which is that operating one would be illegal in 14 states, including Oklahoma.

“Our friends on the left have pronounced the debate over and urged us to accept our fate and faithfully implement the law,” law professor Andrew C. Spiropoulos wrote this summer. But “this attempt to stem the tide of resistance is, of course, futile and almost comical,” says Spiropoulos, who serves as OCPA’s Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow. “They don’t understand that we believe this law is a deadly threat to our economy, constitutional principles and institutions, and even character. We will fight this pernicious scheme at every turn and for as long as it takes to dismantle it and begin the path to health care reforms that follow from, and do not flout, the principles of liberty.”

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