Saturday, November 17, 2012

WisGOP shortsightedness strikes again

This has been a common theme in the age of Fitzwalkerstan, but it was shown again in Scott Walker's stunt of turning down a state-run Obamacare health insurance exchange, and passing the buck to the Feds to allow them to set it up.

Walker's argument against implementing the exchanges seems to be an alleged concern about the state being on the hook to pick up the difference if Obamacare costs too much, and that since it's a federal law, the state didn't have a lot of flexibility to operate.

Well, that might make sense if you're a low-information Bagger, but it falls apart in the real world. First of all, health care costs are not "skyrocketing" under Obamacare, they just had their lowest increase in 15 years, with a similar low increase slated for next year. And the CNN article says a big reason why is because employers are shifting more costs onto their employees, employees who could then decide to use the competition of....Obamacare's health care exchanges and other forms of coverage. Sounds like a win-win for me, and it'll keep costs in check through the added competition on the exchanges.

That's strike 1, here's strike 2. Walker gave a copout saying
In Wisconsin, we have been successful in providing health insurance coverage to over 90 percent of state residents without the creation of an exchange. Other states moving forward with state-operated exchanges have nowhere near our level of coverage. To preserve this, we would all like to build a uniquely Wisconsin exchange, but the reality is the federal health care law simply doesn't allow it. Whether an exchange is administered by the state or the federal government does not change the fact the federal government will set uniform policies for all states.
Again, sounds good to the clueless, but let me remind you that Medicaid and similar low-income health care programs also have federal rules, but Wisconsin traditionally has gone above and beyond those standards to cover more people, which explains why the state has such a small amount of uninsured compared to some other places (well, at least till Walker started cutting BadgerCare). If Wisconsin set up a more expansive exchange and level of coverage that complied with the baseline Obamacare rules, I have a hard time believing they would be shot down.

The real answer comes from the Family Care fiasco, where Walker and DHS Secretary Dennis Smith tried to break Medicaid rules by refusing to enroll qualified individuals, and only backed down when the Obama Administration jumped in and threatened to pull tens of millions of dollars in assistance. The Walker Administration has consistently been adherents of Grover Norquist's theory of shrinking and FUBARing government to the level that they can say "See, it doesn't work!" And if they're really successful, they can use that as an excuse to sell off the services to your well-connected corporate buddies.

And that's why Walker's move is so pathetic. It refuses to take ownership of the implementation of Obamacare, and doesn't try to fit it to the high-service needs that made Wisconsin a special place to live in. Instead, Walker and WisGOP whiners choose to stand off to the side, and wait to go "Neener, neener, neener" if there are any growing pains or issues as Obamacare gets put into place. If Obamacare does end up working, then Walker can try to take credit for something he had no part in doing (right-wing radio is excellent at doing this for their boy Scotty). Plus, it frees up Walker to do what he seems to do best - try to get out of town and fundraise with other losers in the right-wing bubble world.

Lastly, this goes over the policy reasons this move by Walker is so stupid, but as we all know, politics is always more important than policy with the Fitzwalkerstanis. And it constantly leads to screw-ups that cause more fixing and taxpayer costs in the future- be it the pose that led to the turning down of $800 million in federal funds for high-speed rail (and a newly-filed $50 million lawsuit against the state for backing out of a contract), or the deceptive and illegal redistricting that now has cost taxpayers nearly $2 million in legal costs.

And this attitude showed itself again in this Obamacare exchange issue. Walker decided to make a show of supporting the irrational Bagger element of the GOP and hope for a Romney win in November to avoid doing his job. This included the turning down of $38 million in federal aid that would have gone a long way toward setting up the "costly" Obamacare exchanges. Now this foolish man has been exposed yet again as someone who has chosen to govern by soundbite over action, and it is the citizens of Wisconsin who get hurt by this short-sighted, failing mentality.

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