ND Republicans Are Squandering The Obamacare Supreme Court Victory

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Writing for the American Spectator, David Catron notes that a group of Republican Governors including North Dakota’s Jack Dalrymple are squandering a victory over Obamacare their states won from the Supreme Court. And not only are the squandering it, they’re putting their states in serious fiscal jeopardy long-term:

To the disgust of Obamacare’s opponents, however, eight GOP governors have nonetheless decided to comply with the law’s Medicaid provision. Arizona’s Jan Brewer, Florida’s Rick Scott, Michigan’s Rick Snyder, Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, North Dakota’s Jack Dalrymple, and Ohio’s John Kasich have all caved. Even worse, several of these people have been vocal opponents of Obamacare and govern states that participated in the lawsuit that produced the Court’s favorable ruling. …

But Kasich, Scott, and the rest of these GOP opportunists know full well that participation in Obamacare’s Medicaid scheme does not “make sense.” They know it will lead to fiscal disasters in every state that falls for this scam. The federal government will inevitably cut back its financial contribution to the vast expansion of Medicaid, leaving the states holding the fiscal bag. Scott, Kasich, and their six accomplices will be out of office by then, of course, leaving their hapless successors to clean up the disaster.

In fact, the groundwork for a federal cutback on matching funds is explicitly laid out in Obamacare. Avik Roy explains, “For the first three years of the expansion, federal taxpayers will pick up the full cost.… This 100 percent funding rate will phase down to 95 percent in 2017, 94 percent in 2018, 93 percent in 2019, and 90 percent in 2020.” And, considering the deep fiscal hole into which Obama is digging us, we hardly need to call on Nostradamus to predict that Washington will welch on its 90% commitment.

It’s worth noting that North Dakota hasn’t caved to the Medicaid expansion just yet. The state House passed the expansion, but there’s still a chance it could be killed in the state Senate. Not a good chance, but there’s still a chance.

But it is confounding to consider that the outrage North Dakota Republicans paid lip service too in opposing Obamacare just a few years ago, it’s frustrating to consider the time and effort the state put into backing the lawsuit against the law, only to see them fold on the law under pressure from special interest groups like the AARP and the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce.

“I felt as bad today with the Medicaid expansion vote as I felt after I found out Obama had been re-elected and Berg had been beat,” one House legislator emailed to me the night after the vote. “I can’t sleep. Not all of us should be held to the same bad standard as the RINO’s that supported this crap. Please hold accountable those that are deserving and make sure the Senate understands what a vote for expansion means for them.”

Republicans should be wary of the political consequences of these votes – it becomes difficult to rationalize voting for Republicans when they govern like Democrats – but I’m much more worried about the consequences for our states. This entitlement expansion is something we’ll regret in coming years, if it does pass.

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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