Over the last couple of years Governor Jack Dalrymple has been an opponent of implementing Obamacare in North Dakota. He, along with statewide leaders like Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm, have made it clear to the legislature that they oppose implementing the health insurance exchanges proposed in the law.
But now that Democrats have held on to their majority in the Senate, and President Barack Obama has been re-elected, some Republican governors around the nation are going wobbly, and one has caved. Governor Rick Scott in Florida is now reversing his opposition to implementing the exchanges and the expansion of state-run Medicaid programs required by the law.
Will Governor Jack Dalrymple go wobbly too?
Dalrymple, like his predecessor John Hoeven, is not known for taking bold policy stands. But he has taken a stand on this issue and, unlike Governor Scott, presides over a deep-red state where most Republican office holders (including Insurance Commissioner Hamm) enjoyed re-election to office by wide margins.
One would hope that Dalrymple recognizes how foolish it would be for North Dakota to implement any portion of Obamacare. The state implementing health care exchanges would not give us local control. It would just obligate us to more of the cost of Obamacare locally, and the same goes for the expansion of Medicaid, which the Supreme Court made optional for the states in their ruling on the law.
Dalrymple, and North Dakota Republicans, need to stand strong on this issue.
The test will be the upcoming legislative session. In order for North Dakota to implement the exchanges and/or the expansion of Medicaid the legislators most vote in favor of it. But a reiteration from Dalrymple of his continued opposition to doing so would go a long way to ensuring that no such legislation passes.