Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Are the state's right

After the seemingly endless and tedious process of passing the health care bill, it was an immediate annoyance to see the attorney general's of 14 states join together to file suit against the constitutionality of aspects of the new legislation. More, yet more, politics it seemed. It is unlikely that these states have any real chance of success but, beyond pure politics, they have a substantive grievance.

Medicaid is paid for jointly by the national and state governments. Medicaid is already a significant part of the budgets of many states. Many states have great big budget problems today as a result of the recession, mismanagement, and voter short-sightedness. State budgets are actually supposed to balance unlike the federal budget.

So you see the issue. With the Medicaid expansion included in the package of solutions to expand health care coverage, quite a few states look at this and see something that, from today's perspective, they can't possibly handle. It's not just political attention seeking attorney general's of states like Virginia and Texas joining the suit but states like California and Pennsylvania with broader constituencies as well.

It's not just a medium term budget issue but also could be seen to be a further centralization of power in Washington down the road.


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