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Daniels vs Obamacare: Why Wyden-Brown Will Not Work

Posted By Conn Carroll On January 21, 2011 @ 1:00 pm In Obamacare | Comments Disabled

In 2007, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) passed the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) which helps Hoosiers who do not qualify for Medicaid to enroll in individual health-savings accounts. The program was so popular that the state had to suspend enrollment (because of federal regulations) a number of times. Today there are about 45,000 Hoosiers enrolled in the plan. It is a model of state-based patient-centered health care reform [1]. But now Obamacare is, of course, threatening to destroy this system. The Evansville Courier & Press reports [2]:

Gov. Mitch Daniels wants to use the Healthy Indiana Plan as a vehicle to deliver coverage to Hoosiers who in 2014 will become eligible for Medicaid under the new federal health care law.

He has asked federal officials whether that will be possible. Daniels directed a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and said he wants an answer by the end of February. Indications thus far from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are that the governor’s request is likely to be denied.

It is completely antithetical to the First Principles [3] of this nation that a federal bureaucrat in Washington should have the power to destroy a perfectly functioning state health program on a whim. But that is exactly what Obamacare does, and a recent proposal by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Scott Brown (R-MA) would do nothing to fix it. Heritage Foundation Center for Policy Innovation Director Stuart Butler writes in The New England Journal of Medicine [4]:

Another major problem with the bill is that since ultimate waiver authority rests with the HHS secretary, the waivers granted would probably reflect the administration’s preferences. Senator Wyden claims that his legislation would allow conservative states to opt out of much of the ACA and implement consumer-driven coverage. But he admits that the secretary, not the state, has the final word over what is permitted. … The Wyden–Brown legislation is thus much less than meets the eye. In practice, it will not grant the states, especially conservative ones, the degree of flexibility that Wyden claims, nor will it defuse state resistance to major parts of the ACA.

The only path to real health care reform [5], one that allows for flexibility at the state level, begins with the full repeal of Obamacare.


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URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/01/21/daniels-vs-obamacare-why-wyden-brown-will-not-work/

URLs in this post:

[1] state-based patient-centered health care reform: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/04/health-care-reform-design-principles-for-a-patient-centered-consumer-based-market

[2] reports: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2011/jan/14/daniels-plan-aids-medicaid/

[3] First Principles: http://www.heritage.org/Initiatives/First-Principles

[4] The New England Journal of Medicine: http://healthpolicyandreform.nejm.org/?p=13626&query=home

[5] real health care reform: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/11/Repealing-Obamacare-and-Getting-Health-Care-Right

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