“He may have spiked the ball, but he was the waterboy on the end of the bench.”
That’s how Republican Attorney General candidate Tim Fox described Attorney General Steve Bullock’s (D-MT) response to the Obamacare ruling on our statewide radio talk show this morning. (Click on our podcast page to catch the full show)
As Dustin Hurst with The Montana Watchdog notes:
Less than two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the entirety of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Bullock released a statement essentially mocking the Montana Republican Party.
Remember in 2011, the Montana GOP prodded Bullock, now running for governor, to join the 26 other states challenging the PPACA’s constitutionality.
Bullock declined, saying the case lacked merit.
Since Bullock, who is now running for Governor, declined to join the suit, he was quick to claim victory after the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare Thursday. (Earlier this week he criticized the Roberts court after Bullock personally lost his third case before the US Supreme Court.)
Not so fast, said Republican Attorney General candidate Tim Fox. Here’s how Fox responded to the Supreme Court decision on Thursday, a direct crticism of Bullock’s refusal to join the case.
TIM FOX: “Not only do I share Governor Schweitzer’s concern that President Obama’s health care law will bankrupt Montana, but the Supreme Court’s decision today that the medicaid rule is unconstitutional is exactly why Montanans expect their Attorney General to protect them when the federal government overreaches. As Montana’s next Attorney General, that’s what I’ll do.”
Fox added this note a fundraising email sent out Friday.
“It is a gun to the head.” That’s how the United States Supreme Court today described Washington politicians’ effort to force our Montana legislature into a $2.2 Billion expansion of Medicaid.
For more background on Fox’s criticism of Bullock and his failure to sign on to the case challenging Obamacare, The Wall Street Journal points out that states can now opt out of Obamacare without fear of retribution from the federal government.
This particular ruling could have further impacts on Montana’s dealings with the federal government down the road. Bipartisan concern over federal mandates covering road money, education funding, and ID cards have plagued Montana in the past. The state has, in the past, been forced to accept the mandates from the federal government, or lose out on state funding. This is exactly why Fox says Bullock failed the state in not signing on to the Obamacare challenge, adding, “He may have spiked the ball, but he was the waterboy on the end of the bench.”
Here’s an excerpt of the WSJ piece:
The Supreme Court’s decision to let states opt out of the health overhaul’s Medicaid expansion without losing current funding for the program lifts a budget mandate from states but could mean fewer Americans gain insurance coverage under the law.
In the original law, states had to expand their Medicaid programs to a broader swath of poor Americans in 2014, and if they didn’t, the federal government could cut off all their existing Medicaid funding.
The federal government will pick up the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years. After that, it will pick up 90% of the cost and leave the remaining 10% to states. While that leaves only a small share for states, many have argued even that’s too much given their tight budgets.