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Topics: Obamacare

No, Republican governors are not why Healthcare.gov is a disaster

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Hugh Hewitt,Columnists,Obamacare,Republican Party,Democratic Party,Governor,Health Care,2014 Elections,Analysis,Conservatism,Liberalism,Healthcare.gov

There's a new meme emerging from the Manhattan-Beltway media elite as the collapse of the Obamacare rollout accelerates: The GOP governors did it.

If Republican leadership learned anything from last week's political Dunkirk, it is that they have to message more effectively and continually.

Part of messaging includes rebutting pernicious myths and outright lies. Huge whoppers from the left must be strangled in their infancy, and the "blame GOP governors" is one of them.

The attempt to transfer blame for the exchange debacle runs like this:

"The state-run exchanges are working." (Partially true. Some are working. Some aren't. Only Washington state's exchange seems to function well, but that is a relative measure vis-a-vis the steaming pile of exchange fails, especially the feds, so we don't even know if the Evergreen State's billboard dating service for consumers and insurance company plans is really a success.)

"Many Republican governors refused to build their own exchanges." (True — and a very wise choice by them.)

"Therefore the failure of the federal exchange is the fault of those GOP governors."

What? Non-sequitor alert. This is an absurd jump from a partially true statement and a true statement to a wholly non-logical statement, and done in a way to make it appear syllogistic. No attempt is made to fill in the blank of "Why does the third statement follow?"

“The reason for all of this is completely political," Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalere Health, a consulting company, offered on Fox Business. "Governors, like Rick Perry of Texas ... chose to have the feds run their state's health exchanges."

Perry and most other GOP governors chose not to run interference for a program almost certain to fail and do so so miserably.

Most governors also made the rational economic choice not to expand Medicaid because for most of them the huge costs of doing so will cripple their states in the out-years after the federal bribe to expand runs out.

(A handful of states like Ohio with vast new revenues coming online from oil and gas development can afford to do so.)

Thus GOP governors are also getting blamed for the failure of Obamacare to deliver on its impossible promise to provide coverage for most of the poor.

The fallacy of these arguments doesn't prevent their repetition and the enormity of the Obamacare fail is such that many friends of the president in the MSM are peddling these absurd analyses.

They are doing so despite the same Supreme Court decision they are so fond of citing as "upholding Obamacare" -- a decision that struck down the attempt to force-feed the doomed Medicaid expansion down the throats of all the states, and not merely the willing.

Thus will Team Obama and its minor league franchises in the MSM attempt to transfer blame for the most massive and obviously-so display of governmental incompetence in many decades.

The GOP cannot stand by and assume that voters will understand that this is utter claptrap. The leaders have to say so, everywhere and often.

Sadly, there is no reason to expect that they will, and next fall when Democratic candidates for Congress are blasting GOP governors for the misery of people who lost their insurance and are locked out of their old plans, the Republicans will stutter, "But, but, but ... we had nothing to do with that."

And voters won't believe them because, after all, who would have let such a lie fester?

HUGH HEWITT, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.
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