Archive for June 29th, 2012
It is a tough spot for Governor Bob McDonnell. He is the governor of a state in the heat of a presidential battle and he wants to be loyal to his party’s candidate. But he also has to continue to govern. He is now leading a state during a time where his opportunity to build a legacy is becoming shorter and shorter. That difficulty became an even bigger challenge when the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. It is a law McDonnell has fought against, but one that has enorormous implications in the day to day operations of the Commonwealth.
If health care reform continues to move forward (and with the high court’s ruling that seems more and more likely) Virginia must begin to take action to prepare for the bigger parts of its implementation, which begins in earnest in 2014. The best example is the creation of health benefits exchange. It is a power states have to do for themselves, but if they wait, the feds will do it for them.
Republican governors like McDonnell are being careful to not start the implementation, for fear it may look like they have given up the fight on repealing the law. But democrats are now pouncing on the inaction, accusing the GOP of playing politics with people’s health care.
Here is my story from NBC12:
Now that the health care law has been deemed constitutional, states across America need to prepare for its continued implementation. But that’s already leading to battles here in Virginia.
The Affordable Care Act requires each state to create a health benefits exchange, where individuals and businesses could find competitive prices for health insurance.
It is supposed to be in place by 2013 and ready to operate in 2014.
In Virginia, both sides can’t agree on a way to make it happen, and politics could be to blame.
During the rocky 2012 Virginia legislative session, lawmakers, like Richmond Delegate Jennifer McClellan, presented legislation to create health benefits exchanges.
But things got a tad bit off track.
Social issues dominated the docket, pushing a debate on exchanges to the side. Meanwhile the health care law looked to be in constitutional danger, and a presidential election was heating up.
Now the high court has ruled, and McClellan is back, asking for a special session to start the process of the benefits exchange.
“We have lost precious time, and federal resources,” said McClellan. She believes it is time for the governor and Virginia republicans to accept the fact that health care reform is moving forward.
But while the Supreme Court has had its say, the presidential election is still in full swing and the Governor Bob McDonnell’s chosen candidate has promised “obamacare” won’t be around for long.
read the rest of the story on NBC12.com
Full statements from Del. McClellan and the governor’s office can be found after the jump.