Repeal and Do What Exactly?

March 31, 2012
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Republican Senators Alexander, Johanns, Hoeven and Risch –all of whom have been state governors– unleash an attack on ObamaCare from the perspective of state budgets and argue that the law should be repealed (assuming it’s not declared unconstitutional of course). In ObamaCare Will Punish State Budgets on the WSJ Op-Ed pager, they savor a quote from former TN Democratic governor Phil Bredsen, who apparently referred to ObamaCare as “the mother of all unfunded mandates.”

Republican Senators Alexander, Johanns, Hoeven and Risch –all of whom have been state governors– unleash an attack on ObamaCare from the perspective of state budgets and argue that the law should be repealed (assuming it’s not declared unconstitutional of course). In ObamaCare Will Punish State Budgets on the WSJ Op-Ed pager, they savor a quote from former TN Democratic governor Phil Bredsen, who apparently referred to ObamaCare as “the mother of all unfunded mandates.”

“Astonishingly, more than half of ObamaCare’s newly promised health insurance coverage was accomplished by assigning nearly 26 million more people to an already broken Medicaid program and telling governors, ‘Now, you find a way to help pay for it.’”

Actually the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion from 2014 through 2016 and 90 percent of the cost thereafter. Is that what you inferred from the prior paragraph? I didn’t think so.

It’s true that states are likely to incur some costs as a result of Medicaid expansion, but there are also offsetting savings. Supporters of health reform would also argue that there’s value in getting tens of million uninsured people into coverage.  The impact on states is a complex topic, which deserves serious analysis. If you’re interested, you may want to check out the Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis.

The Senators are eager to pick on details of ObamaCare such as provisions impacting college students. But when it comes to their own plan they are laughably vague. Here’s the totality of what they propose:

“We and our Republican colleagues voted against the law two years ago and will continue to work toward a smarter, step-by-step solution that will make health care available to more Americans at a lower cost to the federal government, the states, and individuals seeking care.”

Sorry, Senators, but after two years of touting “repeal and replace” you’ve still got nothing to say about the “replace” part. If and when you do come up with something serious, I’ll be willing to bet it will be at least as easy to criticize as your beloved ObamaCare.