Don’t be part of the fiasco

Within three years and six months of U.S. entry into World War II, Americans were leading the invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe that conquered Germany. Within just a few months, that dictatorship and Japan’s warlords had been defeated. That had required enormous changes in our nation’s economy, government and society. Every American was affected.

It has been about three years and four months since President Barack Obama signed the so-called Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” – into law. Yet the government is not ready to implement it.

Last week, a clearly frustrated Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about Obamacare. He asked her for answers to 10 questions about how this state will comply with federal mandates under the law.

In essence, Tomblin’s letter was a plea for Sebelius to tell West Virginia officials what the rules are.

One paragraph of the letter notes that “the codified rules … appear to lack details at this point in time.” It continues to ask Sebelius whether there will be any new rules before Oct. 1, when the state is required to begin open enrollment for some health insurance covered under Obamacare.

Another of Tomblin’s questions is even more distressing. Noting “tight timelines” for submission of some state documents, Tomblin asked, “As we work through this documentation, who at Health and Human Services can my administration work with to expeditiously resolve any issues?”

In other words, the DHHS does not seem to have established a liaison process to work with the state.

“It remains a critical concern that the currently incomplete rules and guidance will not support a successful implementation” of Obamacare in West Virginia, Tomblin warned Sebelius.

It has been clear for some time that the Obama administration was using the health care law as an enabling act to allow it to make up the rules as the White House and the DHHS went along. Also obvious is that no one in Washington is ready to put the national health care takeover into effect.

That should prompt Tomblin and state legislators to reconsider their commitment to participate in the program, including addition of 91,500 new Medicaid clients. West Virginia government should take no part in foisting this gigantic fiasco off on the public.

Tomblin’s next letter to Sebelius should consist of just three words: Count us out.