Gov. Brewer rejects state-run insurance exchange, unwittingly hastens single payer system


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Rejecting advice from health-insurance companies, hospitals, business groups, consumer groups, an editorial opinion in the Arizona Republic(an), and quite probably Arizona's shadow governor, Chuck Coughlin, Governor Jan Brewer decided that she would rather rage against the machine of the big, bad federal "guvmint" and "ObamaCare," because that is how she personally benefits from her "star" status in the "conservative entertainment complex," as David Frum calls it.  Sell some more books, grab some more speaking fees, and pull in some more donations to JanPAC. She is cynical and pathetic.

She is also a coward. Brewer would have had to obtain approval from the GOP-dominated legislature that is just as cynical and unhinged about "ObamaCare" as she is. Brewer’s spokesman, Matthew Benson, acknowledged the odds of the Legislature approving a state-based exchange “appeared to be dim at best.” Well, you're not so tough after all, are you Guv? So much for that "Scorpions for Breakfast" bullshit.

The Arizona Republic(an)'s Linda Valdez gets it exactly right. Linda Valdez – Brewer's easy way out:

Brewer-ObamaThink Jan Brewer is once again wagging a finger at Barack Obama? Think her decision not to set up an insurance exchange is a brave blow for conservative ideals?

Think again.

This was no bold move.

This was an easy way out of a fight with the GOP Legislature. A state-run exchange would have needed legislative approval. Brewer will have her hands full next session if she decides to fight for increased funding for Child Protective Services and education, two areas where she might be expected to seek budget increases.

The governor doesn’t need another face off.

Nor does she need to be seen as capitulating to Obamacare. On the far right (or the Arizona Legislature), any acknowledgement that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay is pure heresy.

She takes the far-right high ground [low road] with this decision to let the feds do it.

But her decision was expensive. According to the Associated Press: “Brewer’s administration spent two years planning for a possible exchange, accepting approximately $31 million of federal funding to pay for the advance work.”

So much for fiscal restraint.

There is one benefit to all this Tenther "states' rights" temper tantrums – GOP Governors Unwittingly Move U.S. Toward Single Payer Health Care | Crooks and Liars:

For those of you who might have followed the entire Obamacare battle from July, 2009 to March, 2010 — start to finish — you may recall that the House bill originally called for a national insurance exchange based on national risk pools rather than smaller, state-based ones. This was always a good thing, because the broader the risk, the less cost each individual has to bear.

Then Max Baucus wasted all sorts of time and energy concern trolling over the possibility that states would sue the federal government for pre-emption of states' rights, and so the Senate version was born with state-based exchanges.

I always hated that idea, because it limited risk to a much smaller pool and had the potential to drive up the costs, but the counterargument was that it was good-faith evidence that the legislative intent was not to override states' decisions.

Also, as you may recall, the alternative to the public option was a federally-run exchange with products negotiated by the OPM in the same fashion as the Federal Employees' Health Plan (FEHP), which had far more competitive rates than any state plan I could find to compare.

When these Republican governors opt out of the state-based exchanges, they are not opting their states out of Obamacare. I'm sure they're trying to set up future litigation as yet another roadblock, but fortunately there were safeguards written into the law in order to thwart effective "secession" from the coverage rules.

Each of those Republican governors has just abrogated their authority over the insurance exchanges to the federal government, which is now free to step in and offer people in their state health insurance based on a national risk pool, rather than state based. The bigger the pool, the cheaper it is.

Insurers are already whining about how they'll be out of the health insurance business altogether in a matter of a few years. Good. This should hasten the process and bring about single payer that much faster.

* * *

Obamacare is the law of the land, and people in those states are entitled to health coverage, and the federal government will ensure they have those options. If these governors want to surrender their state sovereignty to regulate and create the exchanges, the federal government has the authority to do it, will do it, and will leave the GOP governors out flapping in the wind as the selfish, cynical, cruel lot that they are.

So you just keep right on being obstinate, GOP governors. It means we'll move to the next square that much faster and be opening Medicare up that much sooner. After all, if we don't have states whining about their rights, it's that much easier to pre-empt it all in favor of a federal program.

 It's "ObamaCare" jujitsu.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. Thanks for clarifying the public option vs single payer in the context of the state-run insurance exchange part of the AFA. And thanks to Gov Brewer for pushing AZ in the direction of more Federal oversight in this matter. Sometimes, “We the People” is best realized from a national perspective and not a states’ rights veneer, which is often used to suppress the will of the People. As seems to be the trend on most post-election fronts, the Repubs are reaping the fruits of their poisonous labor of the last few decades. Their tantrums emanate from a realization that their policies and strategies are being tossed on the trash-heap of bad ideas. They started the fire. Let them be scorched.