Opinion

Will Christie volunteer you for Obamacare’s tax hikes?

Photo of Michael F. Cannon
Michael F. Cannon
Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute
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      Michael F. Cannon

      Michael F. Cannon is the Cato Institute's director of health policy studies. Previously, he served as a domestic policy analyst for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee under Chairman Larry E. Craig, where he advised the Senate leadership on health, education, labor, welfare, and the Second Amendment. Cannon has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News Channel, and NPR. His articles have been featured in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Forum for Health Economics & Policy, and the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics. Cannon is coauthor of Healthy Competition: What's Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It. He holds a bachelor's degree in American government (B.A.) from the University of Virginia, and master's degrees in economics (M.A.) and law & economics (J.M.) from George Mason University.

New Jersey is under no obligation whatsoever to throw a lifeline to this unpopular, unworkable, and unconstitutional law. Why should state officials volunteer to implement it — and therefore to take the blame when it begins hurting people — when they lack the power to fix the problems it creates? Even if you support Obamacare, why should the State of New Jersey have to pay to implement a federal law? Where would that end?

There are much more productive ways for state officials to spend their time. The legislature can make access to quality health care more affordable and secure by allowing insurance carriers and clinicians licensed by other states to do business in New Jersey. They can reduce the cost of care by giving patients and doctors the freedom to adopt their own medical malpractice reforms, such as caps on non-economic damages.

But when it comes to volunteering for unnecessary taxes, government bureaucracies, or other headaches, New Jersey should tell the feds: Obamacare is your law. You implement it.

Michael F. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and coauthor of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.