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Pioneer Press - Resist, Don't Rush, a Health-Insurance Exchange


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By Representative Michele Bachmann

There's always reason to be concerned when bureaucrats call for the government to act quickly and create a massive new program.

In Wednesday's Pioneer Press, Gov. Mark Dayton's commerce commissioner claimed "it is urgent" for lawmakers "to act now" to build a state health insurance exchange. In reality, it is not urgent for Minnesota to capitulate to ObamaCare. The fact is our state lawmakers should be doing everything possible to resist this federal takeover of health care.

Commissioner Mike Rothman wants you to believe that Minnesota can set up an exchange "however we see fit." Even some well-intentioned opponents of ObamaCare have joined the chorus of those who want the Legislature to hurry and build an exchange before adjournment. They argue that this will give us a better chance to fix what's wrong with ObamaCare. Nothing could be further from the truth. ObamaCare uses mandates, price controls, taxes and regulations to dramatically expand the federal government's control over health care. The only flexibility states have is to create a more obtrusive program that pushes us toward a single-payer, government-run system. As the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon pointed out, "Running their own exchanges won't empower states to prevent both the most economical and the most comprehensive health plans from disappearing from their markets."

The majority of Americans have wanted ObamaCare repealed ever since it became law. They know that it will destroy jobs, raise taxes and drive up the cost of health care. In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, Stanford Law Professor Daniel Kessler wrote that ObamaCare's subsidies will "impose a substantial punishment on work effort." A family that earns one level of annual income will receive a federal health insurance subsidy of $14,799, while a family that earns $1 more gets nothing. That is a government-established disincentive for success.

Most voters, in a new poll, said they want states - not feds - setting health care standards. Unfortunately, the feds have already written more than 6,000 pages of onerous new rules, and it won't be long before this massive new entitlement destroys the choice that consumers currently have in their health insurance.

Let's stop the calls for hasty action that leads to reckless solutions. That's what brought us into the health care mess headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. Building exchanges is like setting the trap that will ensnare us with more taxes, fewer health care choices and a path to socialism. Instead, Minnesota should protect itself from a federal government takeover of health care by refusing federal dollars for the implementation of an exchange, and by actively supporting federal legislation in Congress to repeal ObamaCare.

Michele Bachmann, a Republican from Stillwater, represents Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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