The strategy of many Republican governors relating to Obamacare implementation: apply stalling tactics in hopes that the GOP sweeps the 2012 elections and is able to repeal it before they have to spend any state dollars in implementing it.
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott and Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal have both indicated that they will refuse to set up insurance exchanges or expand their Medicaid programs to satisfy the requirements in Obamacare.
Florida, the state the led the fight against President Obama’s health care law, will not comply with the Supreme Court opinion.
Gov. Rick Scott tells Fox News that he and his Attorney General, Pam Bondi, will work tirelessly to make sure the law is repealed. He feels that can be done by electing officials, like Mitt Romney, who have vowed to fight the law before 2014, when most of its provisions kick in.
If that doesn’t happen, Scott insists he still won’t “implement these exchanges that will increase the cost of health and make Medicaid worse.”
Scott claims Medicaid has been growing in Florida at three-and-half times the state’s general revenue. He calls the law the “biggest job killer ever” and says Floridians cannot afford the $1.9 billion dollar increase he believes the law will cost.
Gov. Scott doesn’t believe the law will go into effect in 2014. As a result, he’s also not expanding his state’s Medicaid program. And he says Florida can do without the federal money it will lose.
“That’s still Florida taxpayers paying that,” he said. “It’s not like there’s free federal money. Every program cuts back and you create this dependency and then they cut back like they did with our schools.”
Scott claims he is not alone. He says other Republican governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana are with him.
But Perry hasn’t decided what he will do in Texas. Neither his office nor the state’s attorney general’s office would give a timetable for a decision either.
“All those decisions will be made at the appropriate time, we are assessing the impact of the decision and will explore all of our options,” Perry press secretary Catherine Frazier tells Fox News.
The Court ruled that a state cannot be penalized if it refuses to expand Medicaid coverage to include those who make 133% above the poverty line. But those who would be eligible under the new rules for Medicaid coverage will still have to purchase insurance — or get a hardship waiver.
As for the exchanges, if a state refuses or can’t set them up, the Department of Health and Human Services will do it for them.
So, in essence, the refusal of GOP governors to cooperate in implementing Obamacare is largely symbolic. It won’t throw much of a monkey wrench into the workings of the law, but as a statement of intent, its sends a signal of defiance that will be welcomed by most Republicans and independents.