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Long Weekend Reads and The Obamacare Exchange Rules

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I am off until Tuesday, with a replay of my long interview with Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s important Little America: The War within the War for Afghanistan making up Monda’s broadcast. With the withdrawal from Afghanistan assured byt he president’s re-election, understanding what will happen there and in Afghanistan as a result is crucial for Americans.

If you want a couple of quick takes on what happened Tuesday, read the transcript of my interview with Mark Steyn from Thursday.

If you want some thoughts on how a conservative ought to respond to losing the presidential election and the chance to regain the Senate while winning a decisive victory to retain the “People’s House,” read the transcript of my conversation with Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. Hillsdale, already a crucial center of excellence for conservatives, will grow even more important in the years ahead, especially as its Kirby Center in the shadow of the Capitol becomes a meeting ground of purpose-driven conservatives and Republicans in the four years ahead. If you have’t done so already, you ought to sign up for the Imprimus, the free, monthly speech digest that comes from the college.

Larry argues, rightly I think, that the re-election of President Obama was not the “decisive event” in the long-running debate between left and right that opened in this country in 1968. Read why, and take heart.

One More Thing:

The National Journal reports that the floodgate holding back the Obamacare rules has been opened. Surprise. First up: The rules governing state run insurance exchanges.

Sayeth the NJ:

It is not a surprise that exchange rules came first: States must tell HHS whether they plan to build their own exchange or let the federal government do it for them by November 16, next Friday. Many state officials have been complaining that it’s tough to make that decision without more details about how the various options would work.

With the imminence of the choice upon the states, the challenge to the rules (and thus Obamacare) under federalism is ripe.

I am hoping no Republican governor agrees to set up a state exchange. These provide cover to the disaster that will be Obamacare, and the feds want to be able to blame state agencies and state bureaucrast (and state elected officials) for malfunction in the insurance markets.

The president cooked up this system, let him run it.

Some GOP governors have given a tentative ok which they can still reverse, and others –Sean Parnell in Alaska and Rick Perry in Texas, for example– have said no. I hope the RGA lays out an early meeting to review these choices. The HHS regs may have a clarifying effect when their reach is revealed in detail. Why be puppets? The same choice was extended under the Clean Air Act and states would have been much better off simply refusing to be the puppets of the federal bureaucrats who are the hidden hands anyway.

At the same time the states say “no thanks,” on a policy basis, I am hoping at least a few of the State AGs mount a challenge to the idea that the “choice” offered the states –start your own exchange or the feds will make their savailable to your people– is a constitutional one. This is alike a giant cruise ship sailing into a small harbor, displacing water and making it impossible to navigate. The is an assalt on a traditional function of the states, and though the Commerce Clause undoubtedly supports the exercise of Congressional authority here, it cannot act in such a way as to oblige the states to dedicate their staff and resources to the effort, or by extension to wreck the incredibly complicated regime of health insurance regulation. There is great and well-established precedent against the dragooning of states into federal schemes, including in the Chief Justice’s Obamacare opinion itself, at least that portion which struck down the Medicaid expansion scheme. Perhaps Virginia AG Cuccinelli and his federalism-oriented colleagues will bring a challenge to these exchaneg rules and give the Court a second bite at the apple. (AG Cuccinelli is running for governor in Virginia, and he has to know that even though the Commonwealth voted for Tim Kaine over George Allen, it did not do so in order to move Obamacare along.)

I am reminded of how the Democrats reacted to President Bush’s second term push for Social Security reform in the first half of 2005. They just said no, and it died.

Now statehouse Republicans have the duty of just saying no to the march of Obamcare through federalism. I hope to put together a list of the GOP governors who agree to exchanges so that the voters know who cooperated with the destruction of Anmerican medicine and those who fought every step of the way (and perhaps reversed the tide as well.) While the list is pending, here is a Kaiser Foundation-sponosered link on the status of the exchanges more broadly.


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