Hadley Heath

Congress may be focused on raising the debt limit, but Americans know the real issue is government's out-of-control spending. Increasing the legal limit for how much the government can borrow isn't even a band-aid for our fiscal problems. Some may argue that it's necessary to keep the markets functioning, but they won't function for long if the government keeps spending trillions more than it takes in.

Where to start for cutting government spending? Here's a candidate: How about we postpone implementing expensive new laws that may be unconstitutional and ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court? That seems like it should be bipartisan common sense.

Unfortunately, many recoil from such prudence when it is applied to the new health care law, popularly known as Obamacare. Yet they shouldn't. Implementing ObamaCare isn't just costing money at the federal level; it is straining state budgets, many of which are already over-stretched.

The federal government is in the process of creating dozens of new agencies, offices, and (hundreds of) IRS jobs to comply with the law, at an estimated cost of $473 million in FY 2012. States have their own burdens. Under ObamaCare, Medicaid programs will expand and a new “health care exchange” will operate in each state. Some states are already preparing the infrastructure for these reforms.

States recognize that their efforts to implement the new health care law may be a waste. That's one of the reasons why resistance to the one-year-old health care law is now stronger than ever. Forty-one states have introduced Health Freedom Acts in direct conflict with ObamaCare, 28 states are suing the federal government, and a handful have even rejected or sent back federal funding for the law’s implementation.

Implementing the massive changes in the health care system created by ObamaCare would be burdensome enough without questions about the law’s future. Yet the existing confusion makes it even more onerous for states. A February poll from Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that nearly half of Americans either weren't sure or believed the law was already undone by a ruling in Florida that the law was unconstitutional (and a successful bid by House Republicans to pass a repeal bill in their chamber).


Hadley Heath

Hadley Heath is a Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum.