Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Bob McDonnell and Rick Perry all responded to the Supreme Court’s decision by saying they’ll keep fighting — even as the White House on Friday made clear its response: Fine, we’ll do it without you.
The Republican governors’ message was clear on a morning Republican National Committee conference call, when Jindal and McDonnell stressed their continued defiance of the Affordable Care Act and said they will resist implementing the state-based health insurance exchanges for which the law calls.
“Here in Louisiana, look, we refused to set up the exchange. We’re not going to start implementing Obamacare,” Jindal said. “We have not applied for the grants, we have not accepted many of these dollars, we are not implementing the exchanges, we don’t think it makes any sense to implement Obamacare in Louisiana.”
The response from GOP governors was similar elsewhere. Christie, on his monthly radio call-in show, said he would again veto legislation creating a New Jersey health insurance exchange if his state Legislature passes it.
“I am in no hurry to do that, and especially because we have an election four months away,” Christie said when asked if he would allow for the creation of a state exchange. “If there are any hard deadlines that New Jersey has to comply with or be in violation of the law, we’ll comply with it. But I don’t think you are going to see any of those things between now and November.”
McDonnell...twice didn’t answer direct questions about whether he would seek to have his state implement an exchange. Instead, he told reporters on the RNC call, that states like his will have decisions to make.
“Each state now needs to decide whether or not it makes sense to enact its Medicaid expansion, which of course comes with a cost of a real hit to Medicare as well as the very likely flight of people from small-business policies now into a government-run Medicaid program,” said McDonnell, who is prevented by state law from seeking reelection.
Haley, who served as a key Romney surrogate as he campaigned in South Carolina, “already made the decision not to implement an exchange,” spokesman Rob Godfrey said.
Rick Perry in Texas “has absolutely no interest in accelerating the implementation of Obamacare” and will not create a health insurance exchange, spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said.
The Obama administration sent a clear message Friday that it is prepared to begin creating state-by-state health insurance exchanges in places where politicians hostile to the Affordable Care Act refuse to do so.
A White House official stressed that Republican governors’ resistance to the law will be no barrier to the creation of the exchanges. All 50 states, the official said, will have exchanges by 2014.
“We intend to work with any state that’s moving forward to set up a model, whether it’s a state-based exchange, a partnership with our federal exchange … or operating a federal exchange within their state,” said Mike Hash, the interim director of the Health and Human Services Department’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
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