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Friday, November 9, 2012

GOP State Senator Rob Schaaf on Missouri's Obamacare Deadline: "Deadline Schmedline."

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Missouri State Senator Rob Schaaf - IMAGE VIA
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  • Missouri State Senator Rob Schaaf
November 16, folks.

That's the deadline for Missouri to decide whether our state government will set up the "insurance exchange" required by the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), or whether the feds will swoop in and set it up for us.

It's only one week away, so Daily RFT called Republican state senator Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, who's been deeply involved in this issue, and asked whether state leaders will decide on time.

"Deadline schmedline," he says. "An artificial deadline by the federal government doesn't scare me."
Schaaf is not a fan of Obamacare -- so much so, in fact, he seems to have moved into a weird spot, ideology-wise: As a member of the GOP, he likes lower taxes for people, but not when Obamacare lowers them.

Schaaf is the lawmaker who spearheaded the effort to put Prop E on the ballot. The idea behind Prop E was this: If a statewide insurance exchange required by Obamacare must come to pass in Missouri, then it should only be set up with the explicit blessing of the General Assembly and/or the citizenry, and not by gubernatorial fiat. 

(This measure arose out of the fear that Governor Jay Nixon's administration was implementing the health law on the sly; with Prop E, Schaaf and his colleagues sought to guarantee themselves some say in how it gets done).

Last Tuesday, Missouri voters agreed with Schaaf, and passed the measure.

But here's the thing: There's really no "if" anymore about Obamacare. It's happening. The Supreme Court upheld the law in June, and any hope of repealing it withered when the president got re-elected. 

Which means the uninsured will have to buy insurance (a.k.a. "the individual mandate"). It also means they'll be able to do this, in Missouri and in every state, by going to a statewide "exchange," which will be something like Expedia or Travelocity but for health plans.

Missouri's exchange can basically only get legs with legislative approval, thanks to Prop E. But Obamacare gives lawmakers an out: If any state fails or refuses to set up an exchange, then the feds will come in and do it themselves.

So Daily RFT asked Schaff on Thursday which he would prefer. You would think he'd want that power and control, since he worked so hard to get it. But no.

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