Heartland Institute Comments on Michigan Rejection of Federal Funds for Health Exchanges

December 16, 2011

The Michigan House of Representatives voted Thursday to reject nearly $10 million in federal funds to set up a statewide health exchange by 2014 as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare.

The following statements from health care policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at tnash@heartland.org and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/731-9364.

"No state should spend a dime of taxpayer money implementing a law which may not even exist in six months. The people of Michigan are well served by a legislature which has seen fit to not squander taxpayer money on an Obamacare exchange, and instead wait to see what happens after an intervening election and a major Supreme Court case. Other states should follow this example, and understand that when they spend money implementing a law that never comes to fruition, someone's going to pay for it."

Benjamin Domenech
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Health Care News

“Many states that have been reluctant to install Obamacare’s exchanges have moved ahead anyway, because of fear that the federal government will impose an exchange from Washington. However, due to a key drafting error in the law, federal exchanges are not eligible for the all-important subsidies that state-formed exchanges are. Hence, the threat that Washington could force exchanges upon states is an empty one.

“Given all of the legal and financial questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act, Michigan is right to take a step back and see what happens.”

Avik Roy
Policy Advisor, Health Care
The Heartland Institute

“By returning federal funding for health insurance exchanges, Michigan's House of Representatives has correctly refused to partner with the federal government in preparing for a health care law that will destroy patient power in health care and place a huge financial burden upon the state.

“Health insurance exchanges set the foundation for the president's health law and, therefore, it is impossible to be anti-PPACA and yet support health insurance exchanges. By returning federal funding, Michigan's House of Representatives has recognized this dichotomy and has chosen to not participate in the hypocrisy that other states are actively engaging in.”

Kendall Antekeier
Legislative Specialist, Health Care
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.