09.06.2012 1

N.J. Delegates Defend Gov. Christie’s Veto of ObamaCare Exchange System

Chris ChristieBy Kevin Mooney — New Jersey Republican delegates to the National Convention in Tampa, Fla. credited Gov. Chris Christie for vetoing a bill to create a health care exchange system earlier this year that could prove costly over time. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, states are expected to have exchanges established come January 2014, but there is not a strict requirement. In those states that decline, the feds will step in to create the exchange themselves.

In his veto message issued this past May, Christie described the legislation as “premature” and warned that the exchange could impose stiff financial obligations. Since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the individual mandate under Congress’s power to tax, NetRight Daily asked N.J. delegates how the governor’s resistance to the exchange looks in retrospect. In its coverage, the New York Times described Christie’s veto as “largely symbolic,” and told readers “states that fail to create the exchanges lose the ability to oversee them.”

But the delegates made it clear that they prefer to cut their own path. Since it is still possible to repeal the federal health care law legislatively, the future of Obamacare remains uncertain, they point out. If Gov. Mitt Romney is elected president come November, and follows through on his pledge to repeal the PPACA, he would only need a simple majority in the Senate if done via reconciliation. Vice-President Paul Ryan could cast the deciding vote in the event of tie.

“It’s certainly a point of pride to see New Jersey taking a stand against bigger and more intrusive government,” said Maria Bua, a delegate who recently served as the Mercer County GOP chair. “We don’t need to put unelected bureaucrats in charge of our health care, and we don’t need more government dependency.”

As Net Right Daily previously reported, Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, an independent, has announced his intention to use the exchange system as a “dependency portal” that would interlink health care with other welfare services.

“We can see now what the exchange can turn into,” Diane Spino, a committee woman from East Brunswick, said. “So, Christie was clearly right to veto that bill.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has a released a “State Legislators Guide to Repealing Obamacare,” which offers up several policy recommendations designed to slow and ultimately block implementation of Obamacare. ALEC has advised states to reject the discretionary grants made available through Obamacare. While they may seem attractive on the surface, these grants come with “strings attached” that would compel states to enforce federal policy, the report explains.

In his veto message, Christie made it clear that he was concerned about putting N.J. in a position where it would succumb to new federal directives at odds with the best interest of state taxpayers.

Republican Tom Kean Jr., the son of the former governor, said legislation establishing the exchange for N.J. was a “badly flawed bill” that could have a severe impact on the quality of health care services for New Jersey residents.

“The bill did nothing other than to expand bureaucracy and create many thousands of dollars in new unneeded positions,” said Kean. “The bill created a separate branch from the executive branch that raised questions of accountability. The commissioner for the Department of Banking and Insurance wasn’t even included in the decision-making that would impact health care for New Jersey citizens. The bill had a lot of flaws and the governor had the best interests of New Jersey at heart.”

Here is what the Times fails to tell readers, that Gov. Christie and Sen. Kean clearly understand. While it’s true the federal government can step in to implement its own exchanges, the feds cannot offer tax credits or subsidies on those exchanges. The federal law only provides for tax credits and subsidies for those exchanges created by the states. While President Mitt Romney works to unravel Obamacare in Congress, it would seem that Republican governors are perfectly positioned to deny centralized planners with their needed infrastructure.

Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government called on the nation’s governors and state legislatures to hold firm stating, “There is no reason for states to acquiesce to the federal government’s health care takeover.   In fact, governors have a responsibility to not enable this blatant power grab.”

In addition to Christie, Govs. Rick Scott (R-FL), Scott Parnell (R-AK), Susana Martinez (R-NM), Rick Perry (R-TX), Bob McDonnell (R-VA), Nikki Haley (R-SC), and Bobby Jindal (R-LA) have also said that they will not move forward with the exchange system.

Kevin Mooney is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinMooneyDC.

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