N.H. must reject health exchanges

The New Hampshire House will take up legislation soon that would prohibit a state health insurance exchange and force Washington to repeal, replace or amend Obamacare.A health insurance exchange is a bureaucratic set of state-regulated and standardized health care plans in the United States, from which individuals may purchase health insurance eligible for federal subsidies. Under Obamacare, states must implement these exchanges by Jan. 1, 2014 or the federal government will do it for them.Health insurance exchanges involve the total takeover of the health care market by the federal government, whether through a voluntary state health insurance exchange or a default federal exchange.If you break down the hidden agenda of the Obama administration, you’ll come to the most egregious part. Exchanges were installed as a subterfuge to trick state Legislatures into voluntarily accepting the terms of Obamacare, which are otherwise unconstitutional, and to also get state legislatures to pay for the cost of the health care exchange program starting in 2015.This trick is actually how President Obama was able to come out with the favorable cost estimates that he did when trying to pass Obamacare. His analysis assumed that states would want to adopt their own exchanges to try and maintain state control, but in reality, all they would be doing by adopting a state exchange is agreeing to pay for the cost of administering the exchange after a certain year.Yes, it is true that if New Hampshire has a federal health insurance exchange, all decisions would be made in Washington by federal bureaucrats in a central location. However, if we adopted a state exchange, regardless of what type, we still would end up answering to and obeying these same federal bureaucrats. Further, Obamacare says that the states must meet certain federal standards or give way to further federal takeover.The bottom line is this: As far as these exchanges go, there is no such thing as local control.A state exchange dooms New Hampshire in a way that forces the state to cover the expenses of a health insurance exchange without assuming any additional local control. It is the nightmare scenario we all fought against, and the one that helped get Republicans elected in 2010.Creating an exchange entrenches the law in New Hampshire, regardless of whether it’s ruled unconstitutional or repealed. President Obama is cheering on the creation of state exchanges, because each state that creates one makes his dream of implementing Obamacare closer to reality.As the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon said, “It is easier to repeal a theoretical bureaucracy than a real one.”Several times the House has asked our Attorney General to join the 26-state lawsuit against Obamacare. If we truly want to do this, we should not adopt a strategy that will make us complicit in the law we’re trying to overturn. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear this case in March, and common sense would indicate it doesn’t make much sense to waste taxpayer money, federal or otherwise, on a law that might not stand.House Bill 1297 would effectively stop Obamacare in New Hampshire by prohibiting state officials from implementing or aiding the federal government in implementing a state exchange. Let’s prohibit New Hampshire from creating a state exchange that could be the nail in the coffin of the New Hampshire Advantage.Rep. William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, is speaker of the New Hampshire House. Rep. D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, is House majority leader. Rep. Andrew Manuse, R-Derry, is a member of the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee and the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee.