May 22nd, 2009, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson praised the outcome of a standoff between the state of California and the federal government wherein the Obama Administration was forced to back off its threat to withhold supplemental Medicaid funds from the state at the behest of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
“The Obama Administration and California looked eye to eye over the meaning of the Tenth Amendment and Obama blinked. The states have the right—the duty—to act in their own interests,” said Wilson.
California’s receipt of some $6.8 billion in federal stimulus, supplemental Medicaid money had been conditioned upon the cut, which reduces the state’s maximum contribution to home health workers’ pay from $12.10 per hour to $10.10 in July. According to the LA Times, an Obama Administration official had claimed the letter was sent out “inadvertently.”
Wilson said he is convinced that the dissemination of the letter was calculated, as was allowing the SEIU to participate on the April 15th conference call between California and Obama Administration officials.
“There’s no question as to what happened here.” Wilson accused the Obama Administration of attempting to “intimidate California into capitulating to a ruthless leftwing union.”
Last week, ALG News and other media had called for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to uphold the principle of federalism, and to rescind the ultimatum.
“If the Federal government tries to bully their way, demanding the states act in ways contrary to their own best interests, the states can and should tell the federal government to back off,” Wilson said. “California did, and it proved the point. Good for them.”
According to Wilson, the practice of federalism was greatly endangered by the Obama Administration’s initial stand. “This was an important win for the people of the U.S. because the concept of federalism was upheld and a pay-to-play scandal was stopped dead on its tracks.”
Wilson had previously in a letter urged Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to rescind a controversial ruling by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandating that California rescind the pay cuts.
The letter had stated, “As a private, third party,” Wilson wrote, “SEIU participated in a conference call [on April 15th] between the Center of Medicare and Medicaid and the State of California where the Center threatened to withhold emergency stimulus funds from California unless the demands of the union were met.”
While Wilson is satisfied with the outcome, he believes that states need to remain wary of the Obama Administration. “It is perfectly clear now that the Administration will back down from pushing the states around when brought to task, and states need to continue asserting their interests against federal encroachment,” Wilson warned.
# # #