By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
U.S. Senators Jeff Sessions (R) and Richard Shelby (R) have both signed a letter sent to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley as well as the 49 other Governors begging them not to set up state healthcare exchanges. The letter was signed by ten other conservative Senators and was originally written by Senator Jim DeMint (R) from South Carolina, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachman (R) from Minnesota, and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R) from Ohio. The letter was also signed by 61 members of the U.S. Congress including Congressman Robert Aderholt (R) from Haleyville.
The text of the letter is as follows:
The Supreme Court has ruled significant parts of the Medicaid expansion of the President’s health care law unconstitutional as well as ruling that the individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause and will therefore be implemented as a punitive tax on the middle class. This presents us with a critical choice: Do we allow this reprehensible law to move forward or do we fully repeal it and start over with commonsense solutions? The American people have made it clear that they want us to throw this law out in its entirety.
As members of the U.S. Congress, we are dedicated to the full repeal of this government takeover of healthcare and we ask you to join us to oppose its implementation.
Most importantly, we encourage you to oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under the President’s discredited health care law.
These expensive, complex, and intrusive exchanges impose a threat to the financial stability of our already-fragile state economies with no certainty of a limit to total enrollment numbers. Resisting the implementation of exchanges is good for hiring and investment. The law’s employer mandate assesses penalties – up to $3,000 per employee – only to businesses who don’t satisfy federally-approved health insurance standards and whose employees receive “premium assistance” through the exchanges. The clear language of the statute only permits federal premium assistance to citizens of states who create a state-based exchange. However, the IRS recently finalized a regulation that contradicts the law by allowing the federal government to provide premium assistance to citizens in those states that have not created exchanges. The IRS had no authority to finalize such a regulation. By refusing to create an exchange, you will assist us in Congress to repeal this violation which will help lower the costs of doing business in your state, relative to other states that keep these financially draining exchanges in place.
State-run exchanges are subject to all of the same coverage mandates and rules as the federally-run exchange. Clearing the hurdles of crafting an exchange that complies with the 600 plus pages of federal exchange regulations will only result in wasted state resources and higher premiums for your constituents.
Implementation of this law is not inevitable and without the unconstitutional individual mandate it is improbable. Join us in resisting a centralized government approach to health care reform and instead focus on solutions that make health care more affordable and accessible for every American. Let’s work to create a health care system of, for, and by the people, not government or special interests.”
Sen. DeMint said, “The President’s health care law will not reform anything, but will hurt state budgets, destroy jobs, and reduce patient choices. States should reject these complex and costly exchanges.”
Rep. Bachman said, “The states can take immediate action to reject these exchanges that will increase health care costs and add more layers of bureaucratic red tape. I encourage all 50 governors to do what’s best for the American people. They should refuse to implement an exchange and instead work towards common sense solutions that lower costs and return important health care decisions to patients and their doctors.”
Despite pleas from both members of Congress (including both of Alabama’s Senators) and a united front of conservative grassroots organizations begging the Governor to reject Obamacare, the Bentley administration has pushed ahead on developing a state healthcare insurance exchange. Our sources say that Gov. Bentley unveiled plans for a $50 million Alabama run state healthcare exchange to key members of the legislature in a secret meeting on Monday. The press was not allowed to attend, blatantly defying Alabama’s Sunshine Law which demands that such meetings which address policy be open to members of the state press corps. The Governor has not publicly made any decision yet, but our sources tell us that the Governor has signed contracts, applied for federal grant money, devoted hundreds of hours of state manpower resources to implementing Obamacare in Alabama, and has already secretly appointed people to run the state’s healthcare insurance exchange.
To read Rep. Bachman’s press release in its entirety: