On Thursday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer argued that Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott decision to expand Medicaid and establish state exchanges as called for by Obamacare can be perceived as an “honorable” endeavor.
Scott, a fierce critic of Obamacare, helped lead the charge agains the health care law in the courts.
“[I] think as a Republican conservative, who opposed Obamacare, taking it as a governor — I think you can act honorably either way,” Krauthammer said. “You can oppose it and have opposed it all the way and then say, ‘Well, you lost the fight. It’s the law of the land. It passed in Congress.’ It got signature of the president who was approved by the Supreme Court, and when the president ran for reelection against somebody who would abolish it, the president wins.”
“That’s a pretty strong endorsement of this however much you may not like it,” he continued. “And the fact is that now that it exists as the person who is responsible for welfare of the people in your state, what do you do? I think it’s honorable to say, ‘I will take money, because people of my state are paying in federal taxes are subsidizing people in other states.’ Or you can argue the other way and say ‘I still want to keep up with the fight. You know, if enough states stay out, it will collapse.’ I’m not sure that’s a real prospect. But I don’t think either position is dishonorable or cowardly.”
Later in the day, conservative talk show host Mark Levin took Krauthammer to task.
“This is the problem,” Levin said. “With all due respect, people speaking from ignorance. You lost which fight? You lost the fight to take the law out with one big blow on the individual mandate. I know, we were there. We were involved in the litigation. But there are other pieces to the law that are being challenged, and the truth is we didn’t lose the part of the fight on Medicaid in the state exchanges. We won that part of the fight. It gives states a decision whether to participate or not. So we didn’t lose that part of the fight. We won that part of the fight.”
Next he said that even though President Barack Obama had won reelection, the states still have the right not to follow suit in that Obama’s election wasn’t a requirement for participation.
“So, you don’t just surrender,” he said. “The president wins what? I don’t understand these shifting arguments. The president won, the Supreme Court upheld what? It upheld the individual mandate, which in fact was the heart of the law but it specifically did not uphold the requirement that states participate in the state exchanges. It took the reverse position. So whether the president won or not, you’re still a governor. You’re still in charge of a state. You not required to say, ‘I’m going to institute it anyway because Obama won. I don’t get that logic at all, particularly if you’re in a red state. ‘Well, Obama won Florida.’ Oh great, so what?”
Levin went to say that although Floridians are citizens of both their state and their country, and are not necessarily obligated to cede states’ rights to the federal government just because the pay federal taxes.
“Then we might as well get rid of federalism and the 10th Amendment because people in the states are always paying federal taxes,” Levin said. “Because they’re not only citizens of the state, they’re citizens of the federal government, which was understood by the founders and the framers of the Constitution. So you’re citizens of both. So as state citizens as federal citizens are paying federal income taxes or whatever the tax is, if the argument is then, ‘Well look, my citizens of my state are paying into this federal system, well then they’re paying into all kinds of federal systems, then the states may as well surrender.’ Again, that means the 10th Amendment is a dead letter.”
And finally, Levin went on to say it’s not an issue of keeping up the fight against Obamacare, which Krauthammer had said was also honorable. Levin argued it was a matter of what was in the best fiscal interest of the state.
“It’s not just a matter of keeping up the fight,” Levin added. “This is a disaster for the citizens of every state because the federal government gives and then the federal government takes away. The federal government pays 100 percent of the state exchange and the expansion of Medicaid with respect to the state exchange for a period of years, and then gradually it stops, and then the state holds the bag and the states can’t afford it today with 25 percent of their budgets gone.”
“It’s not honorable. It’s absurd. And don’t believe Republican commentators, wherever they are, should be giving cover to absurd decisions by governors just because they’re Republicans. And I want to salute those Republican governors who are still fighting hard and holding firm.”
(h/t The Right Scoop)