Liberty Justice Center
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in NFIB v. Sebelius last June, and with the prospects for repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act dashed by the 2012 elections, key states – including Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia – are now on the frontline of the battle to stop ObamaCare. These states retain a powerful tool to block the enforcement of critical provisions of the law by saying no to establishing a state ObamaCare insurance exchange.
For those who oppose the federal government’s takeover of health care the decision on state exchanges should be easy. Exchanges will be key to enforcing the individual mandate, including reporting to the IRS the names and Social Security numbers of those who do not comply with the mandate. They also will be charged with assessing taxes and penalties on employers.
While some states may be under the mistaken belief that if they set up an exchange they will preserve a modicum of state control – a belief perpetuated by the supporters of the law as well as by some insurance companies – these exchanges will be governed by federal regulations and mandates, leaving states no flexibility. Also, states will suffer from all the federal mandates while bearing all operating costs. As such, the only thing worse than perpetuating the myth that the states stand anything to gain by establishing an exchange is that anyone would believe it.
But states can block the federal government’s enforcement of critical portions of ObamaCare, including the individual and employer mandates, and save tens of millions of dollars a year in their budgets, by just saying “no” to establishing an ObamaCare exchange. And saying no just may be one of our last best hopes to save our country from ObamaCare. But even states led by supporters of the law have to ask just what they have to gain by subjecting their citizens to these costly burdens. How these states decide will affect not only the citizens of those states, but also the fate of the entire nation.