House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner issued a report today along with Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, called: Capital Malpractice: How a Washington Takeover of Health Care Will Hurt States. The report estimates that Democrats’ health care bill will cost the nation 5.5 million jobs over 10 years as a result of the tax on employers who don’t provide health insurance. It blasts the proposed Medicaid expansion as an “unfunded mandate,” and notes that as it is, the program is already crippling states (it currently accounts for 20 percent to 25 percent of state budgets). The report also raises concerns about “dozens of new mandates and regulations, preventing them from developing health care programs that best fit the needs of their residents.” While the 19-page report itself isn’t terribly detailed (it relies on lots of quotes from newspaper articles), it does suggest we’re going to start to see Republicans employ states’ rights arguments more and more during the health care debate.
A few weeks ago I wrote a longer article on the main site about how the Democrats’ planned overhaul of the health care system threatened the states, but since then the issue has gained more traction. Last weekend, both Republican and Democratic governors meeting in Biloxi raised alarms, especially on the planned massive expansion of Medicaid. And last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared that if the Democrats passed legislation resulting in a government takeover of health care, he would invoke the 10th Amendment to fight its implementation in Texas, and suggested other states would do the same. As I previously reported, in June, the Arizona state legislature voted to include a referendum on the 2010 ballot that would amend the state constitution to prevent anybody in the state from being forced to participate in any health care system, aimed at exempting Arizonans from various mandates imposed by the federal government.
As an aside, Pawlenty’s involvement in the report released by Boehner’s office is another indication of the increasing prominent national role he is attempting to play, which could be seen as him laying the groundwork for a likely presidential bid. Earlier today, he was named vice chair of the National Governors’ Association. Also telling? Last week, in an interview on Fox in which he assailed Obama’s health care plans, Pawlenty also took a jab at the Massachusetts system that was signed into law by likely rival Mitt Romney. “The cost of that thing has nearly tripled in just 36 months and they’re looking for an additional federal bailout,” Pawlenty said. “It has not been successful in containing costs.”