Back during North Dakota’s regular legislative session we had a little feature on the blog called “RINO of the Week.” It’s where we pointed out legislators who had gotten a bit off track from conservative principles.
We here at SAB figured that the special session should be no different. So after a week of wrangling down in Bismarck, I hereby award the special session’s RINO of the Week award to…two people. Rep. Jim Kasper and Rep. George Keiser.
During the regular session the issue of a state-level health care exchanged, mandated by Obamacare, was sent to an interim study committee on which both of these men served. They produced bills to create the exchanges which would have bloated our state government by over 50 full time employees and cost tens of millions of state and federal tax dollars.
On the state side alone North Dakotans alone would have had to foot the bill for $10 million in taxes per biennium, paid in the form of a fee on our health insurance plans. Keiser, Kasper and other proponents of the bills argued that implementing a state-level exchange would give North Dakota more control, but this was a fiction. Not only must the policy creating the health care exchange be approved by the federal government, but even after set up the federal government gets final say on each and every policy offered.
Passing this policy in special session would have put North Dakota way ahead of the curve in implementing Obamacare as well. While 11 other states have implemented exchanges, North Dakota would have been the first Republican-controlled state. We would have been rushing into policy even as our state fights a lawsuit in federal court challenging the legality of Obamacare.
Thankfully, yesterday the exchanges legislation died in the state House by a roughly 2 – 1 vote margin and the issue won’t even come up in the Senate. But for trying to ram-rod this short-sighted legislation through, Rep. Kasper and Rep. Keiser are our RINOs of the special session.