In a recent letter to the editor, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu chided Gov. Bobby Jindal for refusing to set up health care exchanges in Louisiana.
Sen. Landrieu failed to mention there is still uncertainty about who will ultimately be in charge of these exchanges — individual states or the federal government? It has been proposed that a new federal executive branch called Health Choices Administration be created to oversee and administer insurance exchanges. This certainly sounds like the federal government managing yet another massive spending program regardless of who sets up the exchanges. We are all familiar with the track record the federal government has on managing spending programs. Why, even before the exchange has begun, the federal government has given $49 million to states just to conduct research on how to plan and build the exchange system.
Sen. Landrieu also fails to mention the federal government has enticed the states to set up their own exchanges by offering a lucrative 100 percent reimbursement for insuring the uninsured. However, this reimbursement decreases, eventually leaving the states to fund 100 percent of the costs. How federal government is this: States (taxpayers) picking up the tab while Washington tells them how to spend the dollars?
I believe Gov. Jindal recognizes the future financial burden the Affordable Care Act places on our state. Louisiana already spends about 25 percent of its budget on indigent care and this program will consume more budget dollars. Gov. Jindal has been joined by several other state governors who also refused to set up state exchanges. Is it really ideology or fiscal responsibility?
While there is still uncertainty on the administration, coverage and the costs of the Affordable Care Act, of one thing I am certain: Any time Washington wants to appoint itself as the watchdog over a massive spending program, you can bet your hard-earned dollar that the working taxpayers best grab their wallets and run.
- urse practitioner