05.31.2013 0

Republicans continue implementing Obamacare

By Robert Romano

On May 16, the Arizona Senate — supposedly controlled by Republicans — passed legislation that would expand Medicaid under the new health care law. The bill would cost taxpayers across the country $2.1 billion through 2019 and add more than 100,000 to government health care rolls in Arizona.

Although she never campaigned on the idea when she ran for office in 2010, the Medicaid proposal is now the top legislative priority of Republican Governor Jan Brewer. She joined other Republican governors in Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, and Michigan who have similarly opened the door to implementing Obamacare — even as Republican candidates for office nationwide were promising the party would repeal it.

A majority of Republicans in the Arizona Senate opposed the measure, yet somehow it passed. How? Majority Leader John McComish (R-Phoenix) got a small handful of Republicans — 6 out of 17 — to vote with 13 Democrats in the Senate to pass the measure. The proposal now heads to the state house, where its outcome is as of yet uncertain.

Sound familiar? It should. It has become operating strategy of Republican leadership nationwide.

Recall in the U.S. House of Representatives, a small minority of Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the tax bill on New Year’s Day that raised taxes on those making $400,000 and above, including many small businesses.

A minority of Republicans, with Democrat help, again passed the hurricane “disaster relief” bill even though it was unpaid for and was stuffed with billions in unrelated pork even as it passed with Democrat support.

And then there are all the bills that a majority of Republicans did support — but nonetheless needed a push from across the aisle to pass.

For example, the latest continuing resolution only passed with Democrat help. A majority of Republicans voted to suspend the debt ceiling until May 19 — but they needed Democrats for that vote, too, in order for it to pass. Just like in the vote on the continuing resolution that came before that. Or when the House increased the debt ceiling in 2011.

These particular budget votes, it should be noted, had the effect of implementing Obamacare — by funding it. Some opposition party.

Commenting on the passage of the Medicaid expansion bill in the Arizona Senate, Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens said, “If Republicans offer these types of ‘alternatives’ to voters — where both parties favor expanding government dependency — why should their base support them?”

Which, when one considers all these examples, it is hard not to agree with those who throw up their hands in disgust wondering why they bothered to turn out to vote at all for limited government candidates in the last election. “What’s the point?” they might ask.

As Republican leaders seem to calculate every legislative move based on a desire to “expand” the base, if they are not careful they might find they are standing on no base at all.

Instead, they should look to the majority of Republican governors that are actually standing against implementing Obamacare who are neither enacting state exchanges nor expanding the Medicaid rolls.

An opportunity may be upcoming in the House of Representatives, where Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) — not content with continued meaningless votes for repeal — has proposed legislation that would defund the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) portion of Obamacare.

To show their sincerity at defunding the health care law, Republicans could rally around this proposal by attaching it to the upcoming Treasury appropriations bill and the continuing resolution coming due on Sept. 30.

In light of Gov. Brewer and other Republicans’ Obamacare acquiescence it becomes more imperative that national Republican leaders not only mouth words but take concrete actions and fight against the dramatic expansion of government. Failure to do so destroys their brand and disenfranchises their base — a recipe for electoral disaster.

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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