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The state opt-out mirage

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 27, 2009 10:11 AM

Doug Powers takes a closer look at Harry Reid’s state opt-out sop.

There’s no there there:

I haven’t seen this section of the bill, but one thing is certain: It will be easier to get Michael Moore through the eye of a needle that for states to opt out of Obamacare.

There will be countless additional funding measures attached so as to ensure that if states opt out, they’ll go even more broke than they already are.

Technically states can opt out of federal education guidelines and run their own public schools any way they see fit — as long as they don’t mind losing millions in federal funding that states have come to depend on.

Technically states can opt out of the federal drinking age and set their own legal age for the consumption of alcoholic beverages — as long as they don’t mind losing millions in federal highway funding.

Hospitals also receive plenty of federal money. Guess what’s going to disappear if your state “opts out” of Obamacare?

Some states are girding their loins:

Utah House Speaker Dave Clark (R) told the (Salt Lake City) Deseret News that “we already have a health-care system in Utah that is bottom three in cost for the nation. As I understand the latest version (of health care legislation) — always subject to numerous changes — I would recommend Utah opt out.”

Utah Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack (R) also expressed skepticism; another Republican state representative, Carl Wimmer, said he will introduce a bill in January “that will get us out.”

Former Utah governor and U.S. Health and Human Services secretary Mike Leavitt, meanwhile, recently published an essay in which he contends that federal health-care legislation “perpetuates and accelerates a century-long emaciation of state governments,” the Deseret News notes.

Connie Hair at Human Events walks through the many unanswered questions about the “opt out” mirage:

Can individuals “opt out” of the penalties and the mandatory coverage? Can individuals “opt out” of paying for government-run health care for everyone else in the country in the form of higher premiums, higher taxes, and Medicare cuts? Can small business owners “opt out” of the higher payroll taxes?

Who decides what a state does? The legislature? The governor? A state referendum? It’s not clear. Also unclear is what exactly happens in Reid’s “opt out” scenario between passage and the drop dead of 2014 for the state “opt out” date, if you’ll pardon the unfortunate juxtaposition.

Reid also said yesterday that he was sending, “… within the next few hours, to CBO…[a] proposal that we’re sending to them for scoring will make us a step closer to achieving a bill this year that lowers costs, preserves choice, creates competition and improves quality of care.”

Like the other Democrat bait and switch scenarios, Reid is not sending a “bill” to CBO for scoring but “… a number of… anyway the proposal…” for scoring. Sources say he’s not merely sending an “opt out” government option proposal, but several others for consideration should he fail to reach cloture for this latest boondoggle.

Conn Carroll at Heritage on Hotel Harry Reid:

Hotel Harry Reid: Reid provided very few details for his “opt out” proposal, but here is what we do know: the government run plan would be available on the first day that major provisions of Obamacare would take effect in 2013, and states would have until 2014 to pass legislation declining participation in the program. This means that a one-vote majority of obstructionists in one chamber of a state legislature, by refusing to act, can consign a state’s residents to an eternity of government-run health care. In 17 states Democrats control both houses of the legislature and the state house. In another 24, Democrats control at least one legislative chamber or the governor’s mansion. That leaves a total of only 9 states where Republicans run the entire show — Texas, Utah, South Carolina, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Idaho, Florida, and Georgia. That means Americans in 41 states are all but guaranteed to have no choice but to endure the government run health plan. What opt out really means is: You’re already checked in, and if you don’t do so by 2014, you can never leave.

More vapor from Capitol Hill.

***

Doctor Zero tweets: “States will be able to ‘opt out’ of Obamacare, just like 30-year-olds could opt out of the Carousel in Logan’s Run.”

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