How Jack Dalrymple Is Helping To Implement Obamacare

jack dalrymple

The fight against Obamacare has become a war of attrition and, as George Will notes in his column today, those who would implement that awful policy are caught between a rock and a hard place because of the manner in which Supreme Court upheld the law.

Obamacare requires that insurance companies accept all new customers, regardless of pre-existing conditions, and that the insurance companies base their premiums on age, geography and whether or not they smoke. Lifestyle choices and other issues cannot be factored in.

These mandates will – in fact, already are – raise the cost of health insurance. They also would allow healthy Americans to opt out of paying for insurance until they’re sick. Why pay for something you don’t need? Why not put off paying for it until you need it, especially when the law guarantees that you’ll be able to buy it?

That’s where the insurance mandate comes into play. Obamacare penalizes those who don’t buy insurance with a tax hike, which is intended to force healthy Americans into the insurance pool so that said pool isn’t merely populated with people who are already sick. Without healthy people paying into the insurance pool to provide the funds that pay for the care for the sick the whole concept of “insurance” collapses.

This was a key question before the SCOTUS. Was the Obamacare mandate a penalty or a tax? The SCOTUS ruled that it was merely a tax, but only because it was so low. “[Chief Justice John] Roberts noted that a person earning $35,000 a year would pay a $60 monthly tax and someone earning $100,000 would pay $200,” writes Will. “But the cost of a qualifying insurance policy is projected to be $400 a month.”

There’s the rub. Even with the Obamacare mandate penalty/tax, it’s still a better deal for healthy Americans to pay the tax and delay signing up for insurance until they’re sick. But the dilemma Congress has is that if they raise that tax to truly punitive levels that would actually be effective in pushing Americans into the insurance pool, the run this risk another review by the courts that might not come out as well as the last one.

What does any of this have to do with Jack Dalrymple and North Dakota?

Consider that Dalrymple included in his executive budget an expansion of the Medicaid program mandated by the Obamacare law. “We try to leave the politics out in the hallway when we make these decisions,” Dalrymple told the Grand Forks Herald about his decision to include the expansion in his state budget. “In the end, it comes down to are you going to allow your people to have additional Medicaid money that comes at no cost to us, or aren’t you?” he said. “We’re thinking, yes, we should.”

Setting aside Dalrymple’s objectionable reference to federal tax dollars as coming at “no cost to us” (we’re all federal taxpayers too, Governor Dalrymple) it’s worth noting that the Medicaid expansion is a key element of Obamacare. By making more people eligible for Medicaid, Obamacare takes pressure off the aforementioned insurance pool. Through this dramatic expansion of Medicaid, the cost of which the feds are picking up now but which will inevitably fall to the states, Obamacare mitigates the the pressure put on the national insurance pool.

This isn’t about helping low-income North Dakotans (the state’s economy is booming anyway, the budget for these sort of programs ought to be going down) but rather propping up a wholly objectionable national health care law which most North Dakotans oppose.

Dalrymple has no business supporting it.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • like-mind

    I think people who need health care and will receive it under this program would disagree with your condemnation.

    • Rob

      I think the people who pay for their own health care, and will be paying significantly higher premiums, as well as paying the tax dollars for Medicaid might agree.

      • Lianne

        Clarification needed. agree with you, Rob? or agree with like-minded’s comment.

        • Rob

          Agree with me. ;-)

          Obamacare is making health insurance more expensive and harder to get for most Americans.

          • Lianne

            I knew what you meant. Just wanted to make sure that the libs did, also!

    • Lianne

      Yes, I believe our government should provide not only our healthcare needs, but our EVERY need for EVERY person—that is, after all, the only fair way.

      • Rob

        The only fair way…except for the people who have to pay for it all.


        There aint’ so such thing as a free lunch.

        But here’s an idea: How about we make health care, and health insurance, cheaper for everyone by ending government policies that inflate the cost?

        There’s a novel idea.

        • Lianne

          You did realize my serious sarcasm, right Rob?

          But getting prices more affordable would include removing or changing Medicare–and that ain’t gonnao happen till the governement collapses.
          Before Obamacare, Medicare controlled the price of all medical supplies, hospitalization, etc.

          There was/ is no competitive sales in medical equipment. Prices are or at least were set by companies submitting higher costs for medical equipment on claims to medicare so that in 18 months down the road they would get that payment or near that payment for their claims on the same type of equipment. If they didn’t do that, Medicare’s adjusted payment made companies lose money.
          Insurance companies loved medicare. the premiums for Meidcare were miniscule compared to the insurance premium: but Medicare pays 80% and the insurance companies–20%..

      • sbark

        cradel to grave……..cause people are not intelligent enough to even think about running their own lives….
        that is really what Liberalism comes down to on the everyday issues……

      • Goon

        Okay commrad… I guess we no longer live in the USA, I didn’t realize we became Europe or the People Republic of the United States of America.

        • Lianne

          Goon, the last election spoke volumes from the people within the boundries of the country known as United States. I don’t recognize where we are living now either. It is so unbelievable that there are so many who not only believe, but demand that their every desire be fulfilled by anyone but themselves.

    • sbark

      Can you point out anyone that has been refused health care in N.Dak. Anyone can walk into a ER and receive………
      ObamaCare has nothing to do with health care………its simply a vehicle to more power and control

      • Rob

        Obamacare has almost nothing to do with health care. It’s not health care reform.

        It’s health insurance reform and, beyond that, it’s a landmine for health insurance. The goal is to destroy private health insurance so that it can be replaced by the government.

        • sbark

          oohhh… that is why the House had to repeal the IPAB’s last March?….ie Death panels, because ObamaCare has nothing to do with “health care”

          Because having the ability to ration health care is Ins Reform? Not being able to spend your own money on health care if some board denies it has nothing to do with health care?

          Being able to ration health care is the only way govt entry into the Health Ins business can possibly work….with “free usuage” historically going up 400%.

          yup……nothing to do with HealthCare…..just ration it and ask docktors to report you for owing a gun……

        • Kevin Flanagan

          It’s a method to redistribute private sector income and assets to stoned slackers in exchange for votes.

    • Goon

      The reason we condem it, is because, it’s not constitutional. Most of us would like to know why we should have to pay for others medical bills. That’s communism or socialistic.

    • Kevin Flanagan

      Who is going to provide all this new health care? What have they been doing before this?

  • Lynn Bergman

    To a recipient of direct farm payments, federal subsidies ARE “free”. Is anyone SURPRISED that our dole-dependent governor is for milking the federal treasury as if our country wasn’t broke? To all you RINOs who felt his nomination was a sure thing… shame on you! When integrity is on the line, you go with the winner, whether he or she is a conservative or a RINO. THAT is why Kevin had to skip the convention. Republicans… get a backbone and start nominating people with INTEGRITY (to me, that means those who earned their living without government “favors”) not just RINO establishment millionaires… like McCain and Romney. How did THAT work for us?