Why Do We Want North Dakota To Be The First State In The Nation To Implement Obamacare?

After the passage of Obamacare at the national level, the State of North Dakota set up a committee to review the impacts the policy would have on the state and what sort of legislation may be needed to comply with it. Heading up that committee is Rep. George Keiser who, in some ways, has done in admirable job in communicating just how bad this bill is for North Dakota.

Most notably, Keiser took Senator Kent Conrad to the mat when the latter claimed that the state’s estimates of implementing Obamacare were “exaggerated.”

We’re learning quickly that there wasn’t much exaggeration going on.

In the upcoming special session our state’s leaders will be considering bills to implement the health care exchanges required under Obamacare. This aspect of implementation alone will cost an estimated $10 million per biennium after 2015 and be paid for with a tax on insurance plans on the state (as if your health insurance bill weren’t growing fast enough).

What’s more, implementing the exchanges would mean adding 50 more full time employees to the state’s payrolls, and an additional $83 million in spending will be required to create the exchanges through 2013.

Just so we’ve got that straight, these exchanges represent $83 million in spending over the next 2 years, and $10 million per biennium after that paid for with a tax on your health insurance policy.

And keep in mind, if North Dakota passes this legislation during the special session this coming week we will be the very first state in the nation to implement Obamacare.

So why the rush? Rep. George Keiser insists that we have no choice but to do it:

Keiser said the special session is North Dakota’s one shot to have a state-created exchange.

“If we don’t pass a state plan … we’re done at that point and the feds will develop and submit their plan,” he said.

This is inaccurate. The special session is not the state’s only chance. The deadline for creating the exchanges is January of 2013, meaning that the legislature could address the exchanges if need be during the early days of the next regular session or in a special session called during orientation in December before that session (something that wouldn’t be difficult or expensive to do given that legislators hold informal meetings called the “pre-session” during that time anyway).

There’s also the fact that the State of North Dakota is currently fighting Obamacare in court, arguing that it’s unconstitutional. It cannot help our state’s standing in court to be both calling for the law to be overturned and implementing it faster than any other state.

The form below sends an email to every single legislator who will be meeting this coming week. Tell them that now is not the time to implement the Obamacare exchanges.

[customcontact form=30]

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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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