Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Play by the rules

You don't have to be a constitutional scholar to know that when the U.S. Supreme Court speaks, its decision is the law of the land. Someone apparently needs to explain this elementary principle to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who is showing disrespect for the rule of law that is all the more astonishing for the fact that he is his state's top law-enforcement officer.

Last week, the high court dismayed Republicans when justices ruled that the Affordable Care Act, the signature accomplishment of President Obama's administration, passed constitutional muster. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and House Speaker Jase Bolger, both Republicans, responded promptly and responsibly.

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They said that while they were disappointed by the decision, the issue is now settled. They agreed that the Michigan Legislature should proceed speedily to set up a state health-care exchange to give consumers the best way to select private insurance plans, as nearly all Americans soon will be required to do. (In Ohio, Gov. John Kasich's administration continues to drag its feet on creating a similar exchange.)

The Michigan Senate has passed such a plan. But last week, Mr. Schuette indicated he didn't believe Republicans should play by the rules. He said the state House should ignore the court decision and hope GOP nominee Mitt Romney is elected president in November.

"Romney said he would repeal Obama-Care, and with that would go the health exchange," Mr. Schuette said, apparently having forgotten than Congress, not the President, would have to repeal any law.

His Ohio counterpart, Attorney General Mike DeWine, worked with Mr. Schuette and 24 other state attorneys general to challenge the law. But he properly said last week that a state constitutional amendment opposing the law "cannot override" the Supreme Court ruling.

Michigan Rep. Gail Haines, who chairs the state House's health policy committee, agreed with Mr. Schuette. She said the court's decision was "based on semantics," and added she wasn't in a hurry to recognize "this ObamaCare tax."

The failure to create a health-care exchange would be not just irresponsible but also dumb. Michigan may lose federal funding if it doesn't set up an exchange. Republicans in the Michigan Senate said they voted for an exchange to prevent Washington "from imposing a one-size-fits-all bureaucratic scheme instead."

But that seems to be exactly what Mr. Schuette seeks. Michigan voters will have him and Rep. Haines to thank if that's what they get.

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