Commentary: Obamacare Arrives
This week, Michigan was awarded a $9.8 million federal Obamacare "exchange" grant. Previous CapCon articles have described how state cooperation and grant-seeking may further entrench Obamacare, making it harder to eventually invalidate or repeal. One article distilled this into bullet points from Cato analyst Michael Cannon, among them:
- Creating an exchange lends a veneer of legitimacy to the law. The Obama administration heralds the creation of each new exchange as proof that the law is gaining acceptance, and heralds states accepting the federal grants available under the law in the same manner.
- To create an exchange is to create a taxpayer-funded lobbying group dedicated to fighting repeal.
- Both Congress and the courts are less likely to eliminate actual government bureaucracies that have assembled dedicated constituencies than they are to eliminate theoretical ones.
See how many of these you can spot in the excerpts below from a federal agency press release.
Incidentally, the state can't spend a dime of this money unless an appropriation bill passes both the House and Senate. The Senate passed this on Nov. 10 by a vote of 28 to 8 (Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"). House Appropriations Committee Chair Chuck Moss earlier told Capcon that his committee is not eager to authorize this spending, but then their participation isn't actually needed at this point, because the full House could elect to just "concur" with the Senate-passed version of the bill.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today awarded nearly $220 million in Affordable Insurance Exchange grants to 13 states to help them create Exchanges, giving these states more flexibility and resources to implement the Affordable Care Act.
. . . Today’s awards bring to 29 the number of states that are making significant progress in creating Affordable Insurance Exchanges. States receiving funding today include: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Vermont.
Administrator: State of Michigan, Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs
Award Amount: $9,849,305
Level of Funding: Level One
Summary: The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will use Level One funding to: conduct additional analysis on the impacts of the Exchange and the Affordable Care Act in Michigan, including additional insurance market analysis; acquire contractual services to assist the State and the Exchange with legal matters, technology planning, education and outreach, financing and policy issues; and, support the State of Michigan as it works toward establishment of this new entity.
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