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Christie plays games with health care 'exchanges'

<p>Those who've followed the health care fight closely have no doubt heard plenty about "exchanges." The idea is, the
Christie plays games with health care 'exchanges'
Christie plays games with health care 'exchanges'

Those who've followed the health care fight closely have no doubt heard plenty about "exchanges." The idea is, the Affordable Care Act instructs states to establish networks of health care plans, from which uninsured families and small businesses will choose regulated plans at affordable prices. It's up to state legislatures to create these exchanges.

For the right, this has created an apparent opportunity -- conservatives believe they can undercut "Obamacare" if they successfully push state policymakers not to create the exchanges. As they see it, if there's no exchange, there's no way to implement the law.

Except that's wrong. States that balk at creating exchanges invite the federal government to create, and possibly manage, exchanges for these states. The conservatives pushing this strategy are, ironically, inviting expanded federal control over health care in her state.

But the right's lobbying continues, especially from the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity, and it's having some success.

Governor Christie has vetoed a bill that would have created health care exchanges in New Jersey, a key part of President Obama's health-care reforms.Christie's veto makes him the first governor in the nation to veto such a bill, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. [...]Christie, often mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, has signaled for months that he would not accept the bill that cleared the Democratically-controlled Legislature as long as the legal challenges persisted at the federal level.

For Christie, the Supreme Court may strike down the law, so there's no need to act. For Democrats, the Supreme Court may not strike down the law, and uninsured people in New Jersey would benefit from having affordable options.

Dave Weigel noted that the right will "give [Christie] credit" for the veto, and that's almost certainly true. But as a policy matter, the governor chose a cheap copout that only invites more Washington control over health care in New Jersey.

* Update: The excerpted article identified Christie as the first governor to veto an exchange. He's actually the second.