Yesterday, Sen. Reid, the Senate point guy trying to paste together a temporary 60-vote majority for ObamaCare, revealed an alluring new gimmick â€“ the â€œopt outâ€. While no details have been revealed, apparently Sen. Reid is shopping the notion that the Senate health care bill could include a provision allowing the states to â€œopt outâ€ of the government insurance program.
The â€œcouldâ€ part is contingent upon whether such an idea is necessary to gain the critical last few votes on a health care overhaul. And the details will be worked out with said group of senators.
While the notion lacks any integrity, it is a potentially brilliant political ploy.
There is, first, the simple fact that it provides some political cover for those members of Congress squeamish about facing a hostile electorate after the bills and details come due.
But letâ€™s suppose that Reidâ€™s language will require a state legislature and governor to enact some kind of notice or actual legislation to get out of the federal insurance program. That would put even Republican state governments, like Idaho, in a terrible position. Regardless of principle â€“ how could a state legislator go home and tell his/her constituents that they voted to prevent any Idahoan from getting access to (cheaper?) government health insurance â€“ BUT, they will still have the privilege of paying higher federal income taxes so that folks in New Jersey, California, New York and Massachusetts can enjoy greater federal goodies? (Including, we emphasize again, the sorry obligation to pay for abortions in those states).
Like the gravitational pull we just witnessed on the Stimulus Boondoggle, legislators in every state will be forced to grapple with the structural logic of accepting some benefits versus none for the federal taxes we pay.
At this point, it seems the only defense to this scam is for conservatives in Congress to demand that states which choose to stay out will be exempted from the certain federal tax increases necessary to support ObamaCare. A member of Congress voting for an â€œopt outâ€ without taxpayer protections is just dancing with their constituents.
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