Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 28, 2012

Editorial: Leaders put residents last


---- — Once again, the hard right faction of the Republican Party that calls the shots in the state House of Representatives has put its brand of all-or-nothing politics ahead of what's best for Michigan citizens.

Not long after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said he would try to create a state-driven online health exchange that would help Michigan residents compare and buy health insurance plans.

This week the Snyder administration said the state has run out of time to create its own exchange and must now wait for a federally run program that the state will have little or no control over. Snyder couldn't convince GOP leaders in the House to go along.

States have the option of creating their own exchange, teaming up with the federal government or having a federal system. More than 500,000 Michigan residents are expected to buy private insurance through the exchange once it's up and running in 2014, including some who already have coverage.

Michigan joins only three other states so far that are planning for a federal partnership, according to data compiled by the foundation. As of Aug. 1, 16 states have established their own exchange and about half as many have decided against it. The foundation also found 16 studying their options and no significant activity in nine states.

Republicans have said any movement on an exchange should be delayed until the November elections in hopes that Mitt Romney will be elected president and the GOP will gain control of the U.S. Senate and at least some portions of the health care law will be repealed.

Snyder had argued Michigan would be better off creating its own exchange, but House members worried about being seen as soft on "Obamacare" before the elections.

Once again, they showed they'd rather be elected than right.