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Va. Watchdog: Conservatives see new silver lining in Obamacare fight

Gov. Bob McDonnell says it’s going to be up to the federal government to bring the Affordable Care Act and its health-insurance exchanges to Virginia.

He’s not going to do it.

With a week remaining before a Nov. 16 deadline for submitting plans for a health-insurance exchange to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, McDonnell laid the issue at the feet of the feds.

“I don’t want to buy a pig in a poke for the taxpayers of Virginia,” McDonnell told reporters on Thursday.

Going against his April declaration in HB 2434 to move forward with a state exchange — a virtual marketplace in which people can purchase health insurance coverage from government-vetted insurers — McDonnell surprised even the conservative advocates like Americans for Prosperity Virginia State Director Audrey Jackson, who had opposed a state exchange.

But Jackson and tea party activists see the governor’s path as a potentially winning strategy to undermine Obamacare.

“Federal exchanges have to be funded through the federal government, and since those funding bills have to go through Congress, they’re not going to be funded,” Jackson predicted.

That, at least, is the hope for Jackson and other conservative groups like AFP. While states have to fund exchanges they set in up — to the tune of roughly $50 million to $100 million per year per state, according to AFP State Policy Manager Nicole Kaeding — the feds are responsible for funding federal exchanges.

“Given the financial status of the federal government with the high debt levels and the deficits, I think that casts doubt on the ability of the government to expand the bureaucracy further,” said Mark Daugherty, chairman of the Federation of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots.

Of course, the possibility of funding any federal exchange through new taxes is always a concern, said Jackson.

“We’ll continue to fight tax increases,” said Jackson.

Daughtery said tea party members are ready for the fight.

“Tea party folks going forward (will) continue to put pressure on our respective congressmen and congresswomen,” Daugherty said.

At the state level, Kaeding said AFP will be working to make sure the Legislature doesn’t try to push a state exchange in January.

“We’re working hard to make sure that outcome is met,” said Kaeding. “And we would love to even see them proactively pass a piece of legislation saying that they will not create an exchange.”

Karen Hurd, chair emeritus of the Virginia Tea Party Alliance, said tea party members are turning their attention to the 2013 gubernatorial race, in which Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling have both announced bids for the Republican ticket.

“We know Cuccinelli will fight it,” said Hurd. “I don’t know how hard (Lt. Gov.) Bolling will.”

Kathryn Watson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


I plan to send all my medical bills to 1600 Pa. Ave.

Insurance exchanges provide a private insurance plan OPTION for people seeking more affordable insurance. HHS has extended the deadline for states to submit a plan to set up an exchange to December 14th (Governor McDonnell had plenty of time but chose to wait until after the election).  If he submits a plan, the Commonwealth of VA will oversee the exchange of private insurance companies. If he does not submit a plan, he will achieve precisely what many in his party object to—a federal government operated insurance OPTION for those looking for a better alternative than their current plan—but still among private insurers.

There are no other choices under the law -and the Governor has sworn to uphold the law when he took the oath of office (he cannot pick and choose any more than we can decide when we want to obey the speed limit on I-81).

See the details of the process in this Nov. 10th article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/11/09/for-hurried-states-obama-administration-extends-health-law-deadlines/

The only thing this governor is good at is passing laws that are in direct violation of the fifth amendment. Bob! better start looking for a new job! I don’t trust you to run a pop stand!

“I don’t want to buy a pig in a poke for the taxpayers of Virginia”

Can someone explain what the heck this means to those of us who didn’t grow up in farm country?

By all means though, lets fight the idea of giving Virginians another option to obtain health insurance.  Good call guys.

We’ve got the best Governor in the world. Why should Virginian’s pay for a Federal Mandate? If the Feds want to force Obama Care, they can include a check with their mandate.

Thanks for nothing, Governor.  Guess you’re really pouting after pouring your soul into the election of Mitt and seeing it rejected by your home state. 

Yeah..you’re toast, politically.  As is George Allen.  Looks like Virginia will need a new crop of Republican leaders.

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