New Jersey’s legislature has approved a bill to create a new government bureaucracy — a health insurance “exchange” — that would help implement Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, among other atrocities. Gov. Chris Christie (R) has until May 10 to sign the bill or veto it. Otherwise, it becomes law without his signature. New Jersey would rue the day it created one of these tax-hungry bureaucracies.
Even if you support Obamacare, there’s no point in creating an exchange today when the Supreme Court could strike down the entire law as soon as next month. Illinois Democrats have put their exchange bill on hold until after the court issues its ruling, expected in late June.
But even if the Supremes uphold Obamacare, there is no valid reason to create one of these things.
The proposed exchange would cost the state tens of millions of dollars per year. The bill raises that money by giving bureaucrats the power to tax all health insurance policies, without approval from the legislature. Every time Congress — or federal bureaucrats, or the state — heaps more requirements on the exchange, the bureaucrats can and will raise taxes again.
Supporters warn that if Trenton doesn’t create an exchange for New Jersey, the feds will. But so what? Obamacare gives federal bureaucrats a chokehold on New Jersey’s health insurance markets no matter who runs the exchange, because it requires state-run exchanges to do everything a federal exchange would do. Obamacare has already stripped New Jersey of its sovereignty. The only question is, should New Jersey also pay for the privilege?
Michael F. Cannon
Michael F. Cannon is the Cato Institute's director of health policy studies.
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