Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
One of the key parts of “Obamacare,” the Democrat plan that essentially nationalized health-care management, is facing bumpy seas as multiple states are telling Washington to run its own high-risk health insurance pool.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was among the state leaders who, to meet a deadline today, told the federal government his state would not accept federal money and the accompanying responsibility for running such a high-risk program.
He explained to Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services secretary, the state already has addressed the need with a program put in place nearly 25 years ago. Besides, he wondered whether the $5 billion set aside by the federal government for the effort would run out long before the needs are filled.
Joining with Pawlenty was Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who wrote to Sebelius that the way the program is set up, if federal funds dry up, the state’s taxpayers are on the hook for any shortfalls.
South Carolina’s Gov. Mark Sanford joined the chorus, citing the new federal mandates that would unfairly burden taxpayers and small businesses already stressed by the economy.
According to the Associated Press, he said the “misguided” federal plan will have “costly consequences that I feel duty-bound to oppose.”
The federal deadline for notifying the federal government about state plans was today, and a full list of states and their decisions on participation was not immediately available.
But some of the plans already have been reported. At Kaiser Health News, for example, there were reports that Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska and Nevada also were declining to participate.
The states declining to participate included those bringing a legal challenge to the health-care reform law, officials noted.
Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the House minority leader, today contended Democrats have a growing “credibility gap.”
“Just last week, an Obama administration report revealed that the new health-care law will increase Americans’ health care costs after President Obama repeatedly promised it would not,” his report said.
“But that hasn’t stopped the administration from desperately trying to sell this deeply unpopular law. Just yesterday Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried to claim that states were happy with ObamaCare,” he said.
The high-risk pool for patients that otherwise might be “uninsurable” was mandated by the president’s plan, even though states already had established and were operating 35 such programs around the nation for the same purpose.
Boehner noted Louisiana, Mississippi and Wyoming also have opted out of the federal program, “and more are expected to do so as well.”
A Lincoln, Neb., Star-Journal editorial cited the benefits of that state’s rejection.
“It’s already obvious that the $5 billion Congress allocated for the national program is not enough. An actuarial study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predicted the money would last only until 2011 or 2012,” the newspaper said.
Boehner told National Public Radio there is a solution to the problems becoming evident as more information about the health-care law becomes available.
“I think that we need to repeal the health care law and replace it with common-sense steps that will lower the cost of health insurance in America,” he said.
WND reported just days ago a newly released officials report estimated “Obamacare” will cost $311 billion more than advertised and also could force 14 million Americans off their employer-provided insurance.
Video of the analysis from Fox News Channel’s “Special Report w/Bret Baier” can be seen below: