Even though President Obama will be inaugurated for his second term on Monday, GOP lawmakers across the country are still in denial about the fact that Obama’s re-election secured the future of his landmark health reform law. Republicans have been digging in their heels against reform, allowing deadlines to come and go without making any progress toward implementing the Affordable Care Act in their states.
But even in states led by GOP politicians who remain resistant to health reform, like Virginia’s Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), some Republican officials are taking matters into their own hands to prepare for Obamacare’s implementation. As the Huffington Post reports, Virginia Republicans — including some members of the governor’s own administration — are working behind the scenes to plan a health exchange, despite Gov. Bob McDonnell’s resistance to reform:
McDonnell surprised no one when he decided last month Virginia wouldn’t create a health insurance exchange under Obamacare. The trouble, though, is that health care reform is coming to the state and its residents whether Virginia’s Republican politicians want it or not. It’s a reality Republican opponents of Obama’s health care law are facing across the country.
That’s why the McDonnell administration and some GOP legislators are working behind the scenes to get ready, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Wednesday.
Against McDonnell’s stated position that the federal government should do all the work to set up and maintain a health insurance exchange, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported some Republican legislators are pushing for the state to work in partnership with federal authorities, an option seven other states including neighboring West Virginia and North Carolina already have chosen. Twenty-five states, including Virginia, will have a federally operated exchange while 17 states and the District of Columbia will run their own. Mississippi’s case is still up in the air.
Virginia isn’t alone. Even before the presidential election, conservative officials in states like Mississippi, Kansas, and Arizona were working under the radar to quietly prepare their states for the inevitable wave of health care reforms. Those Republican lawmakers have begun to clash with the other members of their party because they realize that resisting Obamacare may not be in their best interests anymore — particularly when it comes to setting up exchanges, which the federal government will simply step in and do for the states that refuse to do it themselves.