Michigan Republicans Go Wobbly on Obamacare

Medicaid expansion props up vulnerable law

Thirty-three states including Michigan have refused to create Obamacare exchanges, and as many as half the states may also refuse the law's Medicaid expansion.

Yet Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature appear close to caving to special interest pressure and accepting the Medicaid expansion. Some in the majority hope that cloaking their capitulation behind heavily diluted reforms and deeply implausible conditions will distract base GOP voters who have little tolerance for collaborating with Obamacare implementation.

Leaving aside the politics, this is short-sighted. Even with the more rigorous conditions originally included in the introduced-version of House Bill 4714 (including a 48 month cap on benefits), the Medicaid expansion is bad policy because it props up an unpopular, hideously-flawed health care law that is vulnerable on many fronts.

Lawmakers (and citizens) who oppose the expansion are not "bitter enders" refusing to accept the reality of a harmful law that's a "done deal." In fact it's anything but a done deal.

When Obamacare fully kicks in on Jan. 1, the mayhem it inflicts on families, employers and the nation's health care system may be so obnoxious that Congress — including the Democrat controlled Senate — will be forced to open the law for major amendments that reduce the damage.

Legislators who collaborate with Obamacare implementation today by approving the Medicaid expansion reduce the chances of this opportunity coming to pass.

Here are just some of the ways Obamacare is vulnerable, with evidence for each: 

Oklahoma sues over illegal federal exchange subsidies – Cato Institute
Small business lawsuit challenges illegal subsidies – Competitive Enterprise Institut
Birth control lawsuits – Health Care Lawsuits blog

Poll Finds Support Slumping for Health Law – Wall Street Journal
Kaiser’s polling indicates that only 37 percent of Americans like Obamacare – Weekly Standard
Labor unions break ranks with White House on ObamaCare – The Hill
Democrats “Nervous,” “Concerned” About “Complex,” Confusing, “Train Wreck” ObamaCare - U.S. House Speaker John Boehner

Administrative Complexity
Is Obamacare Too Complicated to Succeed? –
Navigating the ObamaCare Maze – John Goodman
Applying for ObamaCare—Still Not Simple  - Grace-Marie Turner
Obamacare architect Rockefeller: It's “beyond comprehension” – Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner

Extreme Technological Complexity
Spending on exchanges more than double initial projections – Bloomberg
Let's just make sure it's not a Third World experience…” – Obama Administration Official
States Overwhelmed by Obamacare Exchanges' Complex Rules, Bureaucracy - NewsMax

The Law of Unintended Consequences, Obamacare Edition - National Review
Some Unions Angry With Obamacare's Unintended Consequences – Huffington Post
The IRS's Role in Implementing Obamacare – Heritage Foundation
Small business on "hiring strike" due to law - CNBC

Insurance Price Sticker shock
Despite liberal spin, Obamacare will raise CA premiums -  Avik Roy in Forbes
ObamaCare’s raising insurance costs – Daniel Kessler in the Wall Street Journal
The rate-shock danger – The Economist
ObamaCare's Health-Insurance Sticker Shock – Wall Street Journal

Fiscal Unsustainability
CBO: Obamacare costs double to $1.8 trillion in first decade – Washington Examiner
Obamacare Budget Bombshell – Heritage Foundation
Trust not in Obamacare Medicaid Cost-Share Promises – Mackinac Center
Michigan Lawmakers Will Add $22 billion to National Debt with Expansion – Mackinac Center
States Can Save Taxpayers $609 Billion by Refusing Medicaid Expansion – Goldwater Institute/Wall Street Journal

In the fevered intensity of Lansing caucus rooms, lawmakers are sometimes stampeded by a false sense of urgency. They need to pause and imagine how their current actions will be perceived next January, when daily headlines are exposing Obamacare's harmful impacts on real people.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.