Gov. Robert Bentley campaigned for office stressing states’ rights. He complained about federal incompetence, proclaiming that Alabama can handle its own problems.
One problem that the state has not been able to handle on its own is the number of uninsured residents. More than 800,000 Alabamians have no health insurance.
The federal Affordable Care Act was designed not only to reduce the number of uninsured people, but also to give each state flexibility. Alabama had the option of designing its own health-insurance exchange — at no cost to the state — to implement the law. Bentley refused.
Last week, the Obama administration approved plans for insurance exchanges designed by four Republican-led states. Each of the states opposed the health-care reforms, but each believed it could do a better job than the federal government at creating an exchange for its citizens.
If Bentley believed the state could do the job better, he should not have punted the task of building the exchange to the federal government. He may not like the law, but he had a responsibility to Alabamians to make the best of it.
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