Many Republican-led states are fighting to contain damage caused by Obamacare, notably its higher premiums for health insurance, shorter work weeks because of a 30-hour limit on part-time work and loss of jobs because of uncertainty over the effects of its implementation. But one state has taken the fight a crucial step further. Missouri, which has a divided government with Democratic governor and a Republican legislature, has banned local officials from implementing Obamacare. The ban followed from a ballot initiative approved by voters.
The Show-Me State has also rejected Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and won't set up its own state health insurance exchange, meaning that Missourians who want to sign up will have to use a federal exchange. The state also will not enforce some of Obamacare's new rules on insurers. And Missouri, like other states, has slapped restrictions on the Obamacare "navigators," the thousands of individuals the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is hiring to help people sign up for health insurance.
Navigators are those barely-trained federal bureaucrats being hired with virtually no background checks who will have access to a huge swath of Americans' personal information, including their Social Security numbers and tax information. The navigators section is among the most pernicious provisions in a law stuffed with them. "The federal government is trying to tell us whether we can go to the bathroom or not," Missouri State Sen. David Sater, a Republican, told the Washington Post. "It's ridiculous."
Efforts by state officials to cushion residents against the worst of Obamacare's damaging effects won't keep the law from going into effect. Indeed, it appears likely that Obama and others in his administration will try to blame these efforts for the law's defects.
"There is no doubt that there are some who want to make it more difficult for Americans to access affordable health insurance," said Joanne Peters, spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services. "But we are fortunate to have a strong network of partners at the local level that are committed to this effort."
Still, Obamacare's problems mount. Just last week, the administration delayed yet another one of the deadlines contained in the law -- signing the final agreements with insurers that participate in the federal exchanges. Add that to the president's July decision to delay the mandate requiring employers with more than 50 workers to provide health insurance, skyrocketing premium costs and employers dropping insurance, and it's beginning to look as if Obamacare could collapse of its own weight.