ND State Insurance Commissioner Expected To Come Out Against Obamacare Exchanges Tomorrow


Yesterday a coalition of conservative groups, including SAB, held a press conference at the state capitol calling on North Dakota leaders to continue their opposition to Obamacare. You would think that sort of opposition would be an easy sell in a Republican state like North Dakota where 64% of citizens favor repealing the law according to recent polling, but powerful political interests such as Blue Cross Blue Shield (which has a more than 90% market share in North Dakota) as well as supposedly pro-business groups like the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce are agitating to see the state implement the exchanges.

Even Republican Senate candidate Rick Berg is having a hard time articulating a position on the exchanges.

Tomorrow state Rep. George Keiser, who has led the charge for state-level exchanges in the legislature since last year’s special session, will convene the interim Health Care Reform Review Committee he chairs but he may be in for a bit of a surprise. I’m told that Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm will be testifying against state-level implementation of the exchanges which, far from being the competitive insurance markets supporters say they are, would instead be instruments for tight government controls on what sort of insurance we can buy and how much we have to pay for it.

That’s a fairly courageous move for Hamm, who was largely absent from the debate over exchanges during the legislature’s special session last year (better late than never), especially considering that Keiser also chairs the committee which oversees most of the legislation impacting Hamm’s office.

People like Hamm are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one side are special interests like BCBS and the ND Chamber, but on the other side is the reality that any perceived support for Obamacare is politically toxic in North Dakota. Supporting Obamacare is why Democrats lost two of the state’s federal seats last year, and is why Heidi Heitkamp more than likely won’t be able to keep the state’s other Senate seat blue either.

That’s as it should be. The exchanges are bad policy, and office-holding Republicans in North Dakota who are for them or who can’t muster the gumption to take a position on them one way or another maybe shouldn’t be office-holders any more.

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.

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  • Emil Kashuntz

    One in five children lives in poverty, and the Republicans want to extend the Bush tax cuts to give the richest Americans 500 billion dollars in tax breaks. Only a callouse rat would support such nonsense. Who but a disciple of the Lord Rush Limbaugh would oppose health care for everyone while supporting tax breaks for the rich. These rats have no shame.

    • Clarence A. Herz

      You sound like a sound bit rather than a human being. You turn people off to your message before they even read it. If one and five children live in poverty than the food stamp program isn’t working and should be ended. Why should I be taxed at a higher rate because children living in poverty are being fed by the government rather than their parents. Who but a brain dead liberal would expect the rich to be resonsible for the actions of the poor. You are as ignorant as they come. Ignorant or a comunist who believes my wealth that I worked hard for should be shared with others.

      • NDConservative2011

        There is no doubt that Emil Kashdunce is a flaming liberal who believes that those who are unproductive should mooch off those that are productive instead of getting a job and contributing to society rather than being a drain on society. Mr. Herz, you have a great point, and should be proud that you worked hard to become successfull dispite the Obama claims that the government was responsible for your hard work.
        To qoute a movie character – “stupid is as stupid does” fits Mr. Kashdunce well.

        • Emil Kashuntz

          Misquoting Obama is the soup of the day. Slowly read or listen to what Obama said. You might even look at some Mitt videos and note that Mitt gave practically the same speech. Just because Rush says it does not mean it really happened.

      • Emil Kashuntz

        Your taxes would go down if you make under 250k. I doubt you make more than that, but you have been taken in by the Republican lie.

        • Clarence A. Herz

          You doubt? Emil what contribution have you made to our society? I’ve served in the U.S. Marine Corps, been a small business owner, and what I make isn’t your business, but what have you done? The republican lie, the liberal lie, what do either have to do with who gets to have my money. This country was founded on the liberty of personal property, but you want to take my personal property and give it to someone else. What do you have that I can come to your house and take? or are you just a leach like the rest of the welfare state?

          • Emil Kashuntz

            Well you cannot have it both ways. If you make less than 250k, then your taxes will go down under Obama’s plan. If you make more they will go up. So you are lying if you make less than 250k and say Obama is going to raise your taxes. Are you lying?

          • Clarence A. Herz

            answer the question you lib hack

        • Big Righty

          First of all Emil, they are the current tax rates signed in to law by your precious hero Barry Obama. Try to leave Bush out of the conversation for two minutes. Let me take 25% of your income and give it to whomever I please and we’ll see how you like it.

          • Emil Kashuntz

            Dear Mr. Right, you might note that many millionaires pay far less than you do thanks to the Republicans. Mitt paid an effective rate of 13% and refuses to admit about the rest of his prior years. So what is your problem, it is obviously the Republican who are cheating you if you make less than 250k. Are you stuttering?

          • Big Righy

            Evil. There you go with another insult. Your life must be miserable. You are so worried about what the rich are paying or not paying in taxes than what the federal government is spending your tax dollars on. Do you admit that at one point Romney paid over 35% on that money and now he pays taxes every year on whatever income that money earns? Please take the time to understand the real issues rather than the liberal talking points you have memorized.

    • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

      People in poverty have no business reproducing themselves.

      • Onslaught1066

        Mental as well as fiscal.

    • opinionated

      not buying that… children have schip which is paid for with cigarette taxes.. they have healthcare pal

  • Mardene

    Emil, I hope you know that the Obamacare law includes 21 new taxes some of which will affect anyone making less $250k. Also, the Bush tax cuts need to be extended permanently or for a minimum of 10 years to do any good. Business are now sitting on millions of dollars & not expanding their businesses & hiring because they don’t know what their tax liability is going to be.@

    • Emil Kashuntz

      Yup until the rich are guaranteed a free ride for ten years nothing can be done. So we will never get jobs unless we promise the rich tax breaks for ten years. These are the patriots we all should worship a bunch of greedy bastards led by Saint Rush the patron saint of pigs.

      • Syd

        Buckle up little willie, the tax increases for everyone are right around the corner.

  • opinionated

    3 cheers for Adam Hamm!!!!