BY: Senator Michael Watson–@MichaelWatsonMS
It was sad to see in Sunday’s paper former Mississippi Democratic Party executive director turned Clarion Ledger editor Sam Hall attempt to use blatant inaccuracies and misrepresentations to attack Governor Phil Bryant for his strong stand against ObamaCare expansion.
In light of the looming and troubled start date for ObamaCare’s insurance “marketplaces”, Sam seemed to be taking one more swing for the Democrats in a last ditch effort to revisit an issue that has long been settled—Mississippi’s refusal to implement the federal government’s bad policy and its bureaucratic insurance exchanges.
So let’s set the record straight. Phil Bryant made the right decision for Mississippi.
First and foremost, the entire notion of state control of an ObamaCare exchange is laughable. This is a top-down government program that limits consumer choice and controls even minor details about what types of plans and products can be offered. Mississippi’s opportunity to exert “meaningful” control over its exchange was simply window dressing sold by the federal government on the front end. At best, the state would have wound up a puppet of the federal government, and the governor decided not to waste state resources on such an endeavor.
Furthermore, Mississippi is not on an island. According to the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, only 16 states have opted to implement a “state-based” exchange.
Sam also attempts to make the bizarre argument that Mississippians will now somehow be denied access to the taxpayer-funded subsidies available on Mississippi’s federally-facilitated exchange. Setting aside for a moment that the already debt-ridden federal government cannot afford this massive entitlement program, this claim is totally false—and Sam knows it. Additionally, it’s about time a state had the guts to say no to federal money!
The fact is the federal government intends to hand out the same amount of subsidies on the federal exchange that they would have on a state exchange. Setting up a state exchange wouldn’t have gotten anyone any more federal money—it just would have made the state complicit in bad federal policy and put Mississippi on the hook for funding a new bureaucracy.
ObamaCare has already proven to be a job killer, a driver of increased insurance premiums, and a reducer of choice. And sadly, it’s yet to be fully implemented. The idea that Mississippi would aid in the federal government intrusion into the market and the private medical decisions of individuals is offensive and makes no sense. Let’s also not forget the Obama Administration has exempted its own employees, its union cronies and Congress from these mandates.
The long term solution is to increase access, meaning more doctors, more nurse practitioners, etc., which increases competition and drives down cost. That solution ultimately leads to more and better care.
While former Democratic Party executive director Sam Hall continues to promote ObamaCare’s liberal policies, I can assure you Gov. Bryant made the right decision in opposing them. As a Mississippian and as a Senator elected to represent the best interests of my fellow Mississippians, I am thankful for his stand.
About Michael Watson: Michael is a an attorney and Republican State Senator from Pascagoula, Mississippi. He drafted and helped guide SB 2988, Mississippi’s first law dealing with illegal immigration, into law during his freshman year in the MS Senate. A major proponent of education reform, he has extensive knowledge in charter schools and issues related to school choice.
- WATSON: For Elected Officials who won’t roll up their sleeves – “shame on them”. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
- PLUNKETT: Senator Watson calls out Daily Journal for bias, they respond by deleting evidence. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)
- Big Government federal dollars to help unemployed Mississippians bypass the free market to “create” their own jobs. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)