Ohio Governor John Kasich made official his administration's refusal to create a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange in Ohio, deferring to the federal government. With a November 16 letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Kasich limited the burdens the law commonly referred to as Obamacare will impose on Ohioans.
"At this point, based on the information we have, states do not have any flexibility to build and manage exchanges in ways that respond to unique needs of their citizens or markets," Kasich wrote.
"Regardless of who runs the exchange, the end product is the same."
Citing the higher costs and uncertainty caused by PPACA, Kasich wrote, "Ohio will not operate a federally-mandated exchange but instead will exercise its right under the law to leave that to the federal government."
Conservative health policy analysts agree that PPACA cannot function without state-run exchanges. The law is not written to allow the federal government to provide exchange subsidies or impose employer penalties. The IRS has passed a rule attempting to grant itself new taxing powers, but is sure to face legal challenges from states and businesses as a result.
Because PPACA cannot stand without the complicity of state officials, Kasich's decision was welcomed by Maurice Thompson, executive director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.
In a November 16 release, Thompson said, "We are pleased that the Kasich Administration heeded the clear effect of the Health Care Freedom Amendment (passed in 2011), which prohibited Ohio from enacting a state based Obamacare exchange."
"We can now turn our attention away from the Kasich Administration, and begin to prepare litigation that ensures that Ohio employers will not be subjected to the $3,000 per employee fine, and that Obamacare ultimately collapses under the weight of its own legal infirmities," Thompson added.
Thompson had previously explained how the Health Care Freedom Amendment rendered a state-run PPACA exchange illegal, and made clear his intent to see the Ohio Constitution enforced.
Advocates of socialized medicine have thus far refused to face PPACA's dire reality. Even if the statute allowed the federal government to issue tax credits and apply penalties through a federally-managed exchange, progressives have no answer for how a nation $16 trillion in debt can pay for a massive new entitlement program.
"From what we know about the federal exchange, we think Ohioans will not be ill-served by it," Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio Executive Director Cathy Levine told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in response to a November 13 announcement from Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor that Ohio would not be creating a PPACA exchange.
Numerous studies have spelled out the increased costs and decreased freedom PPACA would entail. Although Kasich's administration has indicated Ohio cannot afford to pay for the increased Medicaid enrollment expected starting in 2014 due to PPACA's individual coverage mandate, the governor has not decided whether the state will expand Medicaid eligibility.
Cross-posted from Media Trackers Ohio.