It’s Enough To Make You Want To Bang Your Head Against The Wall

Dalrymple-Budget-Address.preview

Earlier this week the reliably liberal Grand Forks Herald editorial board backed up Governor Jack Dalrymple’s push to accept Obamacare funding to expand the state’s Medicaid programs. That, in and of itself, isn’t surprising. The Herald‘s editorial board is dismissive of concerns over intrusive, expensive government and a champion of government interventionism in everything from the economy to health care.

But what is maddening is the Herald’s unquestioning repetition of Governor Dalrymple’s assertion that the funding for the Medicaid expansion comes at “no cost.”

Right now, voters have delivered the Affordable Care Act and made it the law of the land. They’ve affirmed this through the re-election of President Barack Obama.

If the law works, it works. If it proves too costly, it can and will be changed.

Meanwhile, North Dakota can in good conscience take part.

“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?” said Dalrymple a few weeks ago.

“We’re thinking, yes, we should.” That’s a prudent approach, and it’s one state lawmakers should follow.

If the Herald wants to argue for the implementation of Obamacare here in North Dakota (even over the protests of a majority of citizens who oppose the law), then fine. But shouldn’t that case be made on fact and not delusion?

Because I don’t think “delusion” is too strong a word to describe this assertion that federal money somehow comes at “no cost” to North Dakotans. Every single North Dakota taxpayer is also a federal taxpayer. The national debt problem is our problem too. There is no government spending that comes at “no cost” to us.

The obligation to pay for this Medicaid expansion will almost certainly be dumped on the states eventually, but even supposing the federal government maintains funding for it into the future, it’s still not a “no cost” proposition.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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