Friday, November 16, 2012

The Cornelian Dilemma

The Tea Party's descent into madness continues this week, as calls are underway to arrest federal officials who try to implement the Affordable Care Act in Wisconsin.  What's even crazier is that 9 Republican legislators have actually expressed support for the measure.  Can someone tell me when Wisconsin became Prohibition era backwoods Tennessee?  How are these arrested federal officials going to be punished?  Tar and feather them?  Run them out of town on a rail? 

Anyway, Governor Walker will announce his decision today in the Cornelian Dillema that is setting up the state's health insurance exchange.  The exchange is one of many new layers of bureaucracy created by the ACA--to regulate the insurance options available to the uninsured and their federal subisidies.  States have three options: run their own exchange (hiring their own bureaucrats), having the federal government set up and run the exchanges or a combination of both.

Many on the right want the Feds to run Wisconsin's exchange--ostensibly so nobody in Madison has to take the blame when costs inevitably explode--while those on the left want the state to set up their own.  What I find ironic is their argument is that "Wisconsin can do a much better job of administering the exchange than Washington can".  Aren't these the folks that believe that the Government is the solution for all social problems?  How can the geniuses in the Obama Administration NOT know more than us yokels here in Wisconsin?

Since nobody can actually predict the effect of the ACA on the health care industry, I think it would make more sense to maintain as much local control as possible.  If you were on-board a plane experiencing a major malfunction at altitude, would you rather the pilot try to handle the situation--instead of air traffic control telling him what to do?  (And believe me, this whole ObamaCare thing is going to be like a giant airplane crash.  It's just a question of how long will theterrifying freefall be--and what is the safest place to be in order to have some hope of surviving.)

In setting up the exchange on the state level, Governor Walker might be able to find a way to limit the local taxpayer exposure as much as possible.  Someone at the White House certainly isn't going to be concerned about that--and would prefer that as much cost as possible fall upon the states, so as not to fulfill the deficit projections that Paul Ryan likes to put on all of his charts and graphs.

Nobody is going to win regardless of what Governor Walker decides to do--but the least we can do is try control our own fate as much as possible.

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