President Obama’s re-election confirms his landmark health care reform isn’t going anywhere, but Republican lawmakers will likely continue their attempts to undermine Obamacare even if they no longer push for an full repeal of the law. In fact, uncompromising Republican governors will likely keep preventing Obamacare from taking effect in their states by standing firm in their resistance to setting up health exchanges and expanding Medicaid.
As Politico points out, whether or not the health reform law is able to operate as it was intended — and expand coverage to about 30 million previously uninsured Americans — largely depends on the extent that governors agree to cooperate in their states. But some Republican governors have already made it clear that they don’t plan on playing nice during Obama’s second term:
Bob McDonnell (R-VA)
McDonnell acknowledged that federal health reform is inevitable now that Obama has been re-elected — but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to cooperate. McDonnell confirmed that Virginia will not be setting up its own health exchange and will continue to refuse to participate in the expansion of the Medicaid program. “I don’t want to buy a pig in a poke for the taxpayers of Virginia,” he said on Wednesday.
Nathan Deal (R-GA)
On Thursday, Deal said his state still doesn’t want any part of Obamacare during the president’s second term and likely won’t work toward setting up its own health exchange. “We’ve pretty well indicated that we don’t like the way that the program has evolved,” he said. Unfortunately for his state’s low-income residents, Deal doesn’t plan to expand the Medicaid program in Georgia either.
Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Brownback chose to put off the decision about setting up a health exchange until after the election, in hopes that a Romney win would eliminate the need to implement Obamacare in his state. But now that the future of the health reform law is secure, Brownback noted on Thursday that he still won’t cooperate with the federal government. “My administration will not partner with the federal government to create a state-federal partnership insurance exchange because we will not benefit from it and implementing it could costs Kansas taxpayers millions of dollars,” Brownback said in a statement.
Rick Scott (R-FL)
Even before the election, Scott made it clear that he wouldn’t set up a health exchange or expand Medicaid in his state. And now that Obama has won a second term, he is holding firm in his opposition to heath care reform, even though Florida has some of the highest rates of uninsurance in the nation. On Wednesday, Scott confirmed that Obama’s re-election doesn’t change anything for him.
Nikki Haley (R-SC)
Like Scott, Haley announced her intention to opt out of both a state-run health exchange and the expansion of the Medicaid program during Obama’s first term. And her administration is showing no signs of changing course now that the election is over. On Thursday, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services director Tony Keck reiterated that the state will not be pursuing its own exchange. “We’ve let them know we’re not going to set up a state-based exchange. It’s a federal program and it’s their responsibility to make it work,” Keck said.