Health-care exchange waits House Republicans stymie their own leaders

Guest Editorial
If there is one thing Republican politicians point to as an element they would support in their version of health care reform, it is more competition.

Give people the chance to shop around and the prices will come down, they argue. You hear it from U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and from his Republican primary challenger Jack Hoogendyk. You also are seeing support for it from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

And, yet, here are Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger and most of his Republican cohorts in the house holding up creation of the health-care exchange, which would create that kind of marketplace system as part of the Affordable Care Act. The exchange would create an online clearing house through which individuals and businesses could shop for and buy health insurance. It is estimated about 500,000 people in the state could potentially use the system.

The Republicans’ efforts to delay action on the exchange were understandable while they awaited the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on the legality of the ACA. Now, Bolger and others are digging in their heels, under the guise of gathering more information, in hopes they can stall any decisions until after the November general election, and what they hope is a change in the White House.

The belligerence is difficult enough to tolerate when it crosses party lines, the rote refusal to acknowledge anything that comes from across the aisle, but now the inability to get along is affecting the effectiveness within their own party.

Snyder has suggested the state move quickly on the exchange to ensure Michigan retains control over the program — rather than cede its formation to the federal government because of inaction. Snyder would also like to take advantage of federal dollars available to develop the exchange. We would note that on Thursday MLive political columnist Tim Skubic praised freshman Republican state Rep. Mike Callton of Nashville, for breaking with Bolger and for supporting the governor.

Snyder and Callton have wisely opted to support an element of the ACA that not only serves Michigan citizens but actually appeals to their party ideology. They have the ability to understand the greater gains. Bolger and others apparently are unable to do that — pleased to play obstructionist games even when it hurts their own cause.

— Kalamazoo Gazette