The Corner

Illinois Republicans for Obamacare?

One day after spearheading an effort to reduce burdensome Medicaid requirements in Obamacare, the Republican leader of the Illinois state house is on the verge of voting to speed up the implementation of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in the state nearly two years early. This flip-flop will not only put Illinois’s budget outlook further in peril, but it strikes a blow to the Republican party’s anti-Obamacare messaging nationally.

Yesterday, Representative Aaron Schock and Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross spearheaded a letter to Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell urging support of legislation that would repeal the Medicaid Maintenance of Effort requirement (MOE) in Obamacare. Repealing the Medicaid MOE allows state governments the flexibility to reform Medicaid and bring about a more cost-efficient health-care system for low-income residents.

But Illinois’s liberal governor, Pat Quinn, has no interest in reforming the system. In fact, according to the Illinois Policy Institute, he is pushing a bill that implements Obamacare’s costly Medicaid expansion nearly two years earlier in Cook County. It also raises taxes and relies on new revenue from the federal government to the tune of nearly $1 billion.

It’s another piece of tax-and-spend legislation to add to Quinn’s failed legacy. But at least in the past, Illinois’s Republican leadership avoided the political disaster of putting their fingerprints on legislation such as Quinn’s $7 billion income-tax increase. This time, Tom Cross seems content to cut a deal that will further imperil Illinois’s economic outlook while simultaneously eroding the national party’s messaging on the toxicity of Obamacare.

#more#To be fair, some Republicans in the state have spoken out about this nonsense. Representative Patti Bellock and Senator Dale Righter have stood up to such efforts to expand Medicaid in the past. Their constituents are counting on them to help bring others in the caucus to the right side of this issue.

As Representative Schock and other members of Illinois’s state house Republican delegation have argued, Illinois needs freedom from Obamacare mandates, not more of them. And the state certainly doesn’t need another round of tax increases on job creators. Republicans in the state legislature should stay the course, lest they ruin the GOP brand in the state for a generation.

Americans for Tax Reform has set up a portal to contact Illinois legislators and urge them to oppose these massive tax increases and the expansion of Obamacare in the state. You can access it here.

— Joshua Culling is state- affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform.

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