Quotes of the Day

posted at 9:01 pm on July 1, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

[Governor Rick] Perry “has no interest in fast-tracking any portion of this bankrupting and overreaching legislation,” deputy press secretary Josh Havens said.

The court’s 5-4 decision upheld most of the controversial 2010 health care law, but gave opponents a minor victory when it ruled that states could decide whether to participate in the Medic­aid expansion without jeopardizing the money they receive for the traditional Medicaid program.

“I’m not holding my breath,” said Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a San Antonio Democrat who is head of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. “It almost seems to me the Republican leaders are still in denial about what happened at the Supreme Court.”

“If Romney wins, it takes a lot of pressure off the Legislature,” said state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston. “If Obama wins, then we’re going to have to deal with a complex and somewhat confusing decision.”

***

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Gov. Tom Corbett said he was disappointed by the court’s ruling, but the state would abide by it. “We will move forward respecting the law of the land,” he said.

A day later, Corbett declined to comment on the implications of the ruling for state policy, saying he was focused on the state budget, which had to be passed by Sunday. Decisions on the Medicaid expansion “will be made after we get this budget done,” he said.

Under the original law, which Pennsylvania and 25 other states challenged, states would get additional federal money if they expanded Medicaid to include more people. If they didn’t expand, the law threatened to take all of their Medicaid funding. The Supreme Court struck down that threat, meaning states now can opt to expand Medicaid but will suffer no penalty if they choose not to.

***

“I think there’s a very good chance that the state will not adopt an expansion,” said Representative William O’Brien, a Republican who is speaker of the House in New Hampshire. “We’re just not going to participate in a program that involves potentially wrecking state government finances throughout the country.”

In Maine, Governor Paul LePage also is weighing whether to boycott the Medicaid expansion, which is aimed at people under age 65 whose income is less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of three, that threshold is $25,390.

“We’re still analyzing exactly what this will mean for Maine,” said Evan Beal, a spokesman for LePage, a Republican and Tea Party favorite who is a fierce critic of the health care act. “He wants to make sure we fully understand.”

After the ruling on Thursday, LePage said the decision means “the federal government can force you to do or buy anything, as long as they call it a ‘tax.’ ”

Maine was among the 26 states that sued the federal government over the health care law, in large part because of the costs of the Medicaid expansion.

***

“We’re reviewing that, if we should be expanding (Medicaid) or not,” said Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall. “It’s one of those things that the federal government is offering short-term solutions that may create long-term problems. There are some people who are very concerned about the concept of Obamacare and how much we’ll be pulled into it.”

In Michigan, Republicans control both the Senate and the House. Several Republican lawmakers say they are concerned the state eventually will wind up paying a much larger share of the Medicaid expansion…

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said he is not yet convinced a Medicaid expansion is the best course for Michigan.

“I have to study this,” Jones said. “I am very worried that this entire process will cost taxpayers much more in the future. I don’t want to see more costs thrust on the state … as it is trying to recover economically.”

***

Gov. Nathan Deal hasn’t decided whether to expand Georgia’s Medicaid program, the one bit of leeway the U.S. Supreme Court gave states Thursday in upholding the federal health-care reform law.

“I think that is a mistake,” the governor said during a news conference at the Georgia Capitol. “It will be a strain on the state’s budget.”

However, Deal also pointed out that if Georgia opts out of the expansion, the state’s taxpayers still would have to pay federal taxes to support growing Medicaid rolls in those states that do participate.

***

Nevada won’t automatically accept expanding Medicaid coverage as called for under the federal health care law, Gov. Brian Sandoval said Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling left open the possibility that states could opt out of the requirement without jeopardizing all of its Medicaid funding.

“Given what we know today, the governor does not intend to automatically accept the Medicaid expansion,” Mary-Sarah Kinner, Sandoval’s press secretary, said in a statement.

“These serious budgetary implications, including the impact on education spending, require further analysis — not just of the next biennial budget but of the long-term costs.”

The governor’s office says more information is needed from the federal government before deciding how Nevada will proceed.

***

Gov. Dave Heineman promised Thursday to block any effort to expand Nebraska’s Medicaid program, a key provision of the federal health care overhaul that the U.S. Supreme Court deemed optional for states while upholding most of the law.

“It’s clear it’s now the law of the land,” Heineman said. “We’re going to study this. We’re going to thoroughly review it in light of the changes that occurred today and then make a determination of how we’re going to move forward.”

“There are massive government systems that have to be put in place and ready to go in a little over a year,” said Steven S. Martin, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, the state’s largest insurance company.

The Nebraska Department of Insurance has been working on a state-based exchange for Nebraska in case the law was upheld. Through his secretary, director Bruce Ramge referred all questions to the governor’s office.

***


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