Friday, May 18, 2012

Chris Christie shows Republicans how to sell out

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be in Lexington on Saturday to address Kentucky Republicans. He will surely talk about his May 10 veto of a bill to set up an ObamaCare health insurance exchange in his state.

What he won't tell us is that his veto was just for show and that he was already -- and still is -- setting his state on the path to socialized medicine.

As always, the trick is to follow the money.

Governor Christie applied for and received a $7.6 million Affordable Care Act Establishment grant and is spending it readying his state for ObamaCare. The law explicitly allows states to forgo this activity and, in fact, returning the federal money forcing the federal government to set up the exchange is the only way to go.

Like several other Republicans, Christie appears to have fallen for the idea that a state-run exchange is either required or somehow allows states to maintain a form of local control.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has expressed the same position. Both the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute have urged states to return Establishment grant money as the surest way out of ObamaCare's clutches.

Why this message hasn't gotten more traction would be a real mystery if politicians in both parties had not so clearly displayed their addiction to federal money, with or without strings attached.

And make no mistake, the strings attached to the federal money already accepted by many states will become very heavy ropes before 2015 when states will be responsible for all the costs of exchanges regardless of who is "running" them.

At best the states are being set up as scapegoats for when ObamaCare fares poorly. Worse, opponents banking on a favorable Supreme Court ruling will be surprised at how much of ObamaCare will survive in states that have cooperated and have accepted federal money.

States like New Jersey and Kentucky