Don’t like Obamacare? Move to Puerto Rico, or the Marianas Islands, or any United States territory. Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, sent a letter Wednesday to the Lieutenant Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands exempting them from most of the Affordable Care Act.
The letter states that the act technically only applies to states, and that concerns about undermining the health care markets in the territories will allow them to opt out of most of the act. No word on whether the administration is concerned about the undermining of the markets in the 50 states, but they’re probably really concerned about it.
Obamacare has been an unmitigated disaster for nearly every state and territory in the country since its inception, from driving up costs and reducing employment opportunities, to reducing access and infringing on many rights of citizens. Some states have even attempted to opt out, and others are trying to find a way to do so.
At this point, however, it seems unlikely to see a wholesale repeal of the law, with democrats still holding onto the senate and, of course, the presidency. Many republicans have also said they will not attempt repeal either. As unpopular and unsustainable as the program may be, it looks like we’ll be stuck with it for a long time.
The decision to allow territories out from under the Affordable Care Act marks a break from the administration’s previous stance. Just last year a letter was sent to Secretary of Commerce Sixto Igisomar of the Northern Marianas Islands stating that they will be forced into the program.
As for those of us in the states, we’ll just have to find other ways to deal with it, whether it’s paying the fine or signing up for the program. One thing seems almost certain, however. Puerto Rico will almost certainly continue voting against statehood if the United States keeps passing intrusive and expensive laws.