ObamaCare sometimes seems like Mark Twain’s comment about the weather, and how everyone complains but no one does anything about it. Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty opened up a new front on opposition to the federal takeover of health care by issuing an executive order to block state requests for ObamaCare funds. Calling the program “an explosion of federal spending” that does nothing to address the actual causes of rising costs in health care, Pawlenty drew a line in the sand between Minnesota and the White House:
Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty Tuesday ordered all state agencies to not to submit applications to any health care funding from the federal government related to the health care overhaul.
Any applications must be either required by law or approved by the governor’s office. …
“Obamacare is an intrusion by the federal government into personal health care matters and it’s an explosion of federal spending that does nothing to make health care more affordable,” Pawlenty said in a news release.
The Star-Tribune has the executive order in full at the link above. Time’s Mark Halperin gives Pawlenty high marks for “clever 2012 positioning”:
Pawlenty’s move allows him to argue that he stood on the frontlines as an elected official and tried to thwart the law through aggressive means. And it allows him to stoke the contrast he and his strategists most want to make with Mitt Romney, whose support for a similar health care measure in Massachusetts continues to bedevil him with many Republicans.
Alternately or even simultaneously, it could be that Pawlenty just thinks ObamaCare is bad policy, and especially bad for the states. After all, Democrats in Congress “balanced” ObamaCare mainly by pushing the uninsured into Medicaid, whose costs get borne mainly by the states. It also tramples all over the efforts Minnesota has made in addressing health-care costs in the state by dumping a new load of federal mandates into the mix.
This could easily become an issue in the upcoming Minnesota gubernatorial election. Remember, 54% of likely voters in Ramussen’s July poll favored repealing ObamaCare, while only 40% opposed such an idea. I haven’t seen much since then on the question; the last Rasmussen poll didn’t ask the question, and neither the Strib nor MPR polls did, either. Dayton would be certain to void Pawlenty’s executive order, but Emmer would probably keep it in place, arguing that it will allow Minnesota to keep from getting too deeply embedded in the system while challenges to its constitutionality and efforts by a new Congress to defund it proceed apace.
In any event, at least one politician decided to take some action rather than just talk about it. When a Republican House replaces Nancy Pelosi as Speaker next year, we will almost certainly see more action. In the meantime, it would be good to see more governors following Pawlenty’s lead, in those states where such moves are legal.
Update: Reason’s Peter Suderman has more:
Implementing a bill as unwieldy as the PPACA was bound to be a complex, frustrating process. But because the law relies heavily on state governments for implementation, and because, as we’ve already seen with the various suits challenging the law’s constitutionality, a number of those state governments are led by politicians who would like to see the law struck down, the implementation phase for this law is going to be especially messy.
Maybe they’ll have to “reeducate” some governors, too.