Ark. Governor to Obama: We Don’t Need Federal Tax Cuts That Merely Require State Taxes to Rise

December 4, 2012 - 3:57 PM

Mike Beebe

Democratic Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Governors spent little time discussing the impact of Obamacare on their states when they met Tuesday with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, but did discuss the expansion of Medicaid in their states.

“There was no lengthy discussion on the establishment of an exchange,” Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, said after the meeting with the president. “The focus was on what has just been reported, and that is that the states are willing to join in the sacrifice.

“We don’t want to take it all. We are willing to do our part. We don’t need shifting. We don’t need cuts on the federal level that merely require tax increases on the state level,” Beebe added.

The executive committee of the National Governors Association met with Obama and Biden Tuesday at the White House, where the focus of discussion was on how states would be affected by the fiscal cliff, in which tax increases and budget cuts are set to take effect Jan. 1, 2013 unless a deal is reached to avert it. The NGA executive committee is made up of three Republicans and three Democrats.

“There wasn’t a detailed discussion about federal health care and the impact it would have on Medicare cuts or the impact it would have on the economy in general,” Beebe said.

Another reporter followed on the matter, and Utah Gov. Gary Hebert, a Republican, responded that Medicaid costs did come up as a concern.

“We did talk about Medicaid. We talked about the overall budget deficit and debt reduction that is taking place and about a growing economy,” Herbert said. “What we did appreciate is that President Obama pledged to us to take a look at suggestions to offer more flexibility when it comes to Medicaid and why states have made a number of requests for waivers.”

Part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, requires states to set up their own health care exchanges as a means of offering options under the law’s mandate to purchases health insurance.

Thus far, 15 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to operate their own exchange, according to Stateline.org, a division of the Pew Center on the States. These exchanges are supposed to be set up by Oct. 1, 2013. The individual mandate will require every American to purchase health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014.

Some states are concerned about the cost of exchanges, because after 2015, federal support will be cut off. States that choose not to run an exchange have the option of running an exchange in partnership with the federal government.

Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan and North Carolina notified the Department of Health and Human Services they would like to partner with the federal government.