A bold stand

A bold stand

July 9th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Obamacare deserves a place of prominence -- atop the trash heap of history.

And with that in mind, a number of governors around the country have taken a sensible approach in the wake of the disastrous 5-4 Supreme Court ruling upholding most of Obamacare: They refuse to begin implementing many of its costly, burdensome provisions -- at least in the near future -- and they pledge to work to elect members of Congress who will repeal it and a president who will sign that repeal into law.

That is all the more remarkable considering their principled rejection of some "free" federal money to be used toward implementing the law. But then again, those dollars are never "free," are they?

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has not been as steely in his resolve to resist Obamacare by all legal means, declaring before the court ruling that the state was ready to put in place so-called health care exchanges if the law were upheld. State lawmakers who would like to remain in office might want to consider a different path.

The news is more encouraging in a number of other states:

• "We are not moving ahead on exchanges at this time," a spokeswoman for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal told the Times Free Press.

• Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has said he won't set up the exchanges, either. "We're not going to start implementing Obamacare," he said on a conference call with other Republican governors. "We have not applied for the grants, we have not accepted many of these dollars, we are not implementing the exchanges. We don't think it makes any sense to implement Obamacare in Louisiana."

• Plainspoken Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was equally unenthusiastic. He plans to veto any legislation that New Jersey lawmakers may pass to create the exchanges. "I am in no hurry to do that, and especially because we have an election four months away," he said. "If there are any hard deadlines that New Jersey has to comply with or be in violation of the law, we'll comply with it. But I don't think you are going to see any of those things between now and November."

• Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who recently beat back a liberal-led recall effort, says Wisconsin will be in no hurry to set up an exchange.

• Gov. Rick Scott of Florida said his state won't spend billions of dollars to expand Medicaid under Obamacare and won't set up an exchange anytime soon.

• South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has "already made the decision not to implement an exchange," her spokesman said.

• A spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared that Perry won't create an exchange and "has absolutely no interest in accelerating the implementation of Obamacare."

• Virginia Gov. Bob McConnell has strongly hinted that he would take a similar stand, and governors in Oklahoma and some other states may do so as well.

Absurdly, Democrats including Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley have likened the refusal to cooperate fully with Obamacare to secession. That's ripe with irony, considering that it is Obamacare itself that represents a tearing away from the limits on federal power enshrined in the Constitution, the document on which our nation was founded.

One of the few refreshing things about the lousy Supreme Court ruling is that it acknowledged what the Obama administration still refuses to admit: The law represents a massive tax increase. In many cases, that tax hike will fall the hardest on precisely the lower-income Americans whom the administration so regularly purports to defend.

That governors of multiple states should be reluctant to take any avoidable action in connection with such a tax hike is not only understandable but commendable.