Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and State Attorney General Jeff Landry are mixing it up again. Edwards, a Democrat, isn't happy with Landry, a Republican, for joining other GOP attorneys general in supporting a Texas-based lawsuit challenging Obamacare.
Federal Judge Reed O'Conner on Friday ruled Obamacare unconstitutional since it no longer taxed citizens who refused to purchase health insurance. Previously, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was the tax that made the law constitutional. But President Donald Trump eliminated the mandate with his tax-cutting legislation signed in January.
It was Obamacare that allowed Edwards to expand Medicaid in his first year in office, creating close to 500,000 new dependents. The governor says they could lose their coverage, and that those with pre-existing conditions may not be able to get health insurance if the U.S. Supreme Court eventually upholds the Landry-backed lawsuit.
"This was a short-sighted lawsuit, to say the least. I intend to vigorously pursue legislation to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions from losing their health insurance and ensuring the working people of our state aren't penalized because of this decision," Edwards said in a statement on Friday.
Landry says he supports requiring insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions.
"Should this ruling hold, I look forward to continue working with the Louisiana Legislature in supporting efforts to ensure those with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage," Landry said in a tweet Friday. "I remain committed to working with our state leaders to find constitutionally sound, state-based solutions to this issue."
While requiring insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions sounds nice and is popular, it's not practical without the government mandate forcing people to buy insurance. Why would someone, especially a young person, buy health insurance if companies were forced to take them on as new customers after they contracted a serious illness? The whole idea behind insurance is that you pay for it in advance in case something bad happens.
What would happen if auto-insurance companies were forced to cover new drivers after they had an accident? No one would ever buy auto-insurance beforehand, and companies would be forced to astronomically raise premiums.
Many have argued Obamacare is unconstitutional based on the idea the government can't force us to buy anything, even heath insurance. And critics claim the bill offered a government-centric approach to health care reform instead of relying on the free market and encouraging competition.
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy R-La., has called for decentralizing health care spending from the feds by giving states block grants which they could use largely as they see fit. And Cassidy would like to eliminate Obamacare regulations limiting health plans from offering catastrophic insurance policies.
One of the major downsides of Obamacare is that it redistributes wealth by forcing young people to buy health insurance they don't want to supplement the costs of caring for the elderly.
Even one of the main architects of Obamacare, MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, admitted that supporters lied and tried to hide that the legislation was a tax and a way to redistribute wealth.
"This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies, " said Gruber. "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically this was really, really critical to get this thing to pass."
Twenty million more Americans have health insurance as a result of Obamacare. No surprise there. People like free stuff. But according to the Heritage Foundation, for those who still pay for their own insurance for individual coverage, premiums have more than doubled since Obamacare was enacted. If you listen to some Obamacare defenders, all hell will break loose if the legislation is thrown out. They want us to believe Americans were just left to die in the streets before Obamacare.
Landry was correct in joining with other state attorneys generals in challenging Obamacare. Hopefully, it will lead to reform that's constitutional and more free-market based instead of relying on the heavy hand of government.
Email Dan Fagan at email@example.com. Twitter: @DanFaganShow.