News that Florida Governor Rick Scott, until this point a staunch opponent to Obamacare, capitulating on the expansion of Medicaid is frustrating. The Republican governors – including North Dakota’s own Jack Dalrymple – who are waving the white flag in this matter are taking a short-sighted view.
Yes, the states will get federal dollars in the short term, but the feds will almost certainly withdraw those funds once the program is entrenched, pushing its cost onto state budgets. And yes expanding Medicaid helps protect businesses from having to pay penalties for uncovered workers in the short term, but in the long run it’s helping to implement a health care law that hurts the entire economy by inflating costs and burying businesses in red tape.
Governors like Scott and Dalrymple are taking the path of least resistance, and there aren’t any good excuses for it.
But it’s worth remembering that North Dakota hasn’t capitulated yet. Dalrymple’s proposed expansion of Medicaid was slipped quietly into his budget and must still be approved by the state legislature.
As of last month Republican members of the state house were telling me that the expansion won’t pass. Now House Republicans are still saying it will pass, but they sound decidedly less certain. Groups such as the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce and others are putting a lobbying campaign behind the expansion as well.
One thing is certain, if Republicans pass the Medicaid implementation there won’t be a lot of reasons to keep voting for Republicans.
What good is a Republican majority if that Republican majority goes along with implementing a government take over of health care? Obamacare is what give Republicans two of North Dakota’s three seats in Congress. They campaigned against it and won.
Now they want to help implement the law? That’s a serious breech of trust which ought to cost them some elections.