Many of [ObamaCare’s] subsequent struggles have stemmed from the apparent belief that [Democrats] didn’t need down-ticket races, or public opinion; all they needed was Barack Obama sitting in the Oval Office.
Kentucky illustrates the dangers of this strategy. Most policy happens at the state and local level, not federal, something that’s easy to forget as local media outlets fail and news coverage becomes increasingly focused on national elections. Under outgoing Democratic governor Steve Beshear, Kentucky was a poster child for the success of Obamacare; under incoming governor Matt Bevin, it may well become a poster child for its failure.
Sitting here in the Democrat-run Ocean State, I’d caution McArdle not to be overly skeptical of the strategy. Our state’s health benefits exchange (also created by questionable executive order) lived off federal funding and administrative changing of the law for development and a couple of years of operations. Now, it looks likely to survive by being embedded in the larger Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP), for which the federal government has largely paid.
HealthSource is a good example of the Rhode Island reality that, if the federal government can find a way to pay for it, state policymakers will go along. The lesson may have limited application across a large, diverse country, but it is an indication of what the Left will strive to do with its control of the federal bureaucracy, judiciary, and whichever elective offices it can win.
For our part, Rhode Islanders should take it as a point of personal shame that our state and our liberties are so easily bought.