At the “Michigan CPAC” event last weekend, Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) informed participants that he's seeking co-sponsors for a bill he’ll introduce soon that would enter Michigan into a multistate Health Care Compact. If approved by Congress, the compact would supersede ObamaCare in member states, and block-grant the federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars now spent in each state. Michigan Capitol Confidential will report more details when the measure is introduced.
Meanwhile, special interest lobbyists for large medical centers, information technology companies and certain insurers are now urging lawmakers to authorize a state ObamaCare insurance “exchange.” It’s virtually certain that some of the same legislators who publicly condemn ObamaCare back in their districts are also telling these lobbyists what they want to hear.
Which side are they really on? These politicians will be reluctant to give up their current “flexibility,” and one early test will be which representatives co-sponsor McMillin's Health Care Compact bill. A legislator who does so will also be distancing himself or herself from the potential rewards of supporting special-interest ObamaCare beneficiaries.
After the bill is introduced, the next test will be whether it actually advances through the legislative process to a final passage vote. That will be a “which side are you on?” test for Speaker of the House Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, both Republicans. Given the opposition of their political base and probably a majority of their constituents, if the measure comes to a vote on the floor practically every GOP legislator will vote “yes.”
However, given the potential “serving the Lansing system” rewards for those who play ball with ObamaCare’s special-interest beneficiaries, it’s also likely that some GOP lawmakers would rather not have to take that vote and will urge the leadership not to hold it. For many lawmakers, each step along this path will depend on whether voters and grass-roots groups in their own districts, especially Tea Party groups, exert pressure by communicating that “this will be on the test.”