The latest alert from Save Jersey today announced that Governor Christie has vetoed S2135, which would have implemented the state run health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, aka PalloneCare. Some, including Matt Rooney of Save Jersey (a Facebook friend and decent guy, but we disagree on some things), point out in particular that the veto came following a meeting between Governor Christie and President Obama. Tenthers and other groups were concerned implementing the exchanges would be one of the strings attached to Hurricane Sandy aid, all the more reason to try to prepare to deal with any future crises without federal “assistance.” You never know when they’ll get that idea.
As for the veto itself, the action was right, and we Tenthers should be glad about that, but we should also be wary. At no point did Governor Christie mention any constitutional concerns, only economic ones, which, while legitimate, cannot be a good Governor’s sole concern when looking at a bill. As Governor Christie says, “[w]hile the federal government has enabled states to apply for grant funding to cover some of the initial costs of such an endeavor, the total price for such a program has never been quantified, and is likely to be onerous. Without knowing the full scope of which Exchange option would be most beneficial and cost efficient for New Jerseyans, it would be irresponsible to force such a bill on our citizens.”
Suppose the Congressional Budget Office or someone in the Obama Administration had presented a fudged but convincing looking set of figures, sort of like they did before the ObamaCare vote. With the fiscal impact as the only concern, a lot of our remaining liberties could be eroded very quickly. Indefinite detention centers in New Jersey? Drone flights over New Jersey as part of a fusion center? No worries. The DC good ol’ boys network will take care of all that.
Governor, the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center thanks you for making the right move, but your reasoning causes a great deal of concern. Does this mean for future threats to our liberty, whether through ObamaCare or any other federal usurpation, there’s a price at which you can be bought? We’re hoping the answer is no, and we will certainly take this small victory, but we will be watching closely.
The vagueness behind your veto statement leads us to believe this issue has not gone away with a second stroke of the veto pen. If any of the three exchange options – state run, federal, or state/federal partnership – fits within your idea of fiscally acceptable for New Jersey, you have hinted you will go with it. This back and forth on the issue causes a great deal of uncertainty for our State’s employers, who don’t want to hire if the cost of those new hires is going to skyrocket in a few months or a year due to new regulations. This issue is severely hindering your vaunted Jersey Comeback at a time when we need to remove as many obstacles as possible.
While we appreciate knowing you’ve bought us some more time, we want to see this nonsense end with an absolute, unconditional veto. In other words, thanks for now, and in the future, no thanks.
Read the Governor’s veto decision here.
Brenda Poland, State Chapter Coordinator, also contributed to this blog entry.
Benjamin W. Mankowski, Sr. [send him email] is a blogger with the Tenth Amendment Center. He writes from New Jersey.
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