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State should stay away from the Obamacare mess

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 12:01 am

Don't give in to the illusion of autonomy

The deadline is approaching for Indiana to decide whether to implement a state-based health-insurance exchange to make it “easier” for people to get “affordable” coverage when they buy insurance under the provisions of Obamacare. A decision is due by the end of the week, and Gov. Mitch Daniels and Gov.-elect Mike Pence are being pressured by Obamacare advocates to say yes.

They should continue to resist. It is a false argument the advocates make that, because the federal government will set up the exchange if the state doesn’t, doing the job ourselves would amount to more autonomy and a victory for “states’ rights.” But it would be illusory autonomy. States’ rights do not come from federal edicts or coercions. Jumping off a building at the point of a gun is not the exercise of freedom.

As Mario Loyola points out in National Review, allowing states “to be deputized as instruments of federal policy is just as bad as bowing to federal commandeering of state agencies, which is unconstitutional.” State governors “should be under no illusions: You are not preserving one iota of state autonomy by setting up your own Obamacare exchange. On the contrary, you are letting the feds deputize you as instruments of federal policy.”

No matter how the exchanges are set up, no matter who is charge, Obamacare is not going to be anything but expensive for individuals, deadly to economic development and a nightmare for the state’s public officials. Applebee’s restaurants have already announced massive layoffs because of Obamacare’s costs. Expect many more similar stories. Indiana has already lost jobs because of the medical-device tax used to partly pay for Obamacare. Keep watching for equally disturbing news.

Obamacare is going to be a mess. But it’s the federal government’s mess, so let it take the responsibility and the blame when it becomes clear what a mistake it was.

The road to a bright future

Hooray for the opening of the first half of the Interstate 69 extension that’s slated to eventually run from the state’s southwestern corner to Indianapolis and connect with the rest of the road to give us a major highway running all through the state. People are already talking about the potential for economic development along the new stretch, which goes mostly through rural areas.

We get so caught up in the digital revolution that we sometimes forget there is a concrete, tangible world that still has to be dealt with. People still need things, and those things have to be moved. Digital highways are important, but so are real ones.