Health Care

Commentary: Kansas Becomes Second State To Reject ObamaCare Implementation Grant

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Decision holds drastic implications for Louisiana and health reform

Kansas has become the second state to reject the ‘Early Innovator’ grant, a $31.5 million subsidy from the federal government awarded to seven states for implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Oklahoma precedes Kansas in refusing this grant, an action with potentially immense repercussions in the effort to repeal ObamaCare.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Lt. Governor Dr. Jeff Colyer have cited the current uncertainty of Washington to meet its future financial obligations as a chief factor in their decision to return the grant.  Brownback reasons that states need to prepare for less federal resources in the future and not be dependent upon an already strained federal government.

Colyer argues that the expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare will be untenable for the state’s finances. “Federal Medicaid mandates have cost Kansas over 400 million in the past 2 years alone. Full implementation of the mandates in the President’s health care law would cost billions more.” Kansas officials also noted that the Early Innovator grant does nothing to slow the explosive growth of health care and health care costs.

One can argue that the Early Innovator grant is an attempt to appease the states by presuming to facilitate a transition into the health care law, which requires raising the threshold for Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty level.

Instead of accepting the conditions of the federally mandated health care law in exchange for a sum of money, Brownback says Kansas will explore flexible options which will benefit its needs the most. This is salutary advice for other states.

Reminiscent of Kansas’s decision, Louisiana was one of several states to reject an exchange system for ObamaCare last March, but further steps are imperative to slow the growth of health care costs and turn back the new law. Governor Jindal presented some of his ideas for reforming health care and repealing ObamaCare earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal.

The continued noncompliance of states is necessary to turn back the economically ruinous health care “reform” of the Obama Administration. Kansas and Louisiana should be applauded for these steps taken. Individual states need to tailor health care reforms to suit their singular needs and not rely on a historically imprudent federal government which may not be able to meet its future obligations.

Jamison Beuerman is a contributing writer and policy analyst at the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be contacted via email at jbeuerman@pelicaninsitute.org or followed on twitter @jbeuerman.

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