Our Idaho governor, the bulk of our Idaho legislative delegation and the majority of Idahoans don’t much like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There was the slim hope that Republicans would gain control of the Senate following the 2010 midterm elections and reverse it then. There was greater belief — perhaps unfounded by precedent — that the Supreme Court would rule health care reform measures more commonly referred to as Obamacare unconstitutional.

Neither happened. The law still exists exactly as it did when signed into law on March 23, 2010. It’s not going anywhere. Unfortunately, many of our legislators don’t seem to get the message.

One of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Act, which is “optional” for states, is setting up their own state-run health insurance exchange. Of course, if a state “opts out,” in so doing it invites the federal government to come in and do it for them.

Such appears to be the wish of House Speaker Lawerence Denney and House Majority Leader Mike Moyle. While contending publically that they don’t like federal overreaching, they’ve advocated for their legislative colleagues to allow exactly that and not set up the health insurance exchange here in Idaho.

Maybe they have one remaining hope that Harry Reid and the Reidettes will lose their majority in the Senate and throw Obamacare out next January.

Maybe deep down they feel the federal government can do a better job than they can in running a health insurance exchange. Maybe they think the federal government can do it more efficiently and economically — we suppose just like they do in running the U.S. Postal Service.

Fortunately for Idahoans, cooler, more responsible legislators are on the case. Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, is co-chairing a legislative Health Care Task Force charged with determining what steps the state can take to implement the Affordable Care Act. Cameron has consistently been a proponent of Idaho setting up its own insurance exchange, so much so that both Denney and Moyle contributed money to Cameron’s opponent in last spring’s primary in an effort to stick another vote in their pocket.

Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, will also serve on the legislative task force. Earlier this week Wood expressed hope that task force members would set aside politics and look for solutions. “Let’s…look and determine how this is going to help or hinder the citizens of the state of Idaho,” Wood said, “and then make a decision based upon that analysis as opposed to making a decision based on any other reason.”

We applaud Wood’s sentiment but have seen little evidence that it will be done. We may not like Obamacare, but it remains the law. We may not like the idea of a state-run health insurance exchange, but it’s better than inviting the feds in to do it for us.

It’s time to take a deep breath and get it done.

(3) comments

Andre Leonard
Andre Leonard

The editorial presents an interesting group of facts and conclusions. Without going into them, it is true that in Idaho, the state, local government and most of the people oppose this mandatory tax assignment. Like so many a federal mandate, it must be addressed on the federal level.

Lacking that, the only option the state can pursue is to ask for a waiver to be excused from federal mandates. Prior to Idaho becoming a part of the union, there were many considerations that were discussed and met. If the 10th Amendment is to be validated and the will of the people respected. An allowance should be forthcoming.

This issue has all the appearances of a red and blue state debate. The former not wanting it and the latter embracing it. The debate of where does federalism end and the rights of states begin is on-going.

The Boston Tea Party, the North and South issues all have ideals in American history. I will hope it forged some common ground that allows for states to agree to disagree. If united we stand and divided we fall. We have a lot of work to do, if we are to move forward.

House Speaker Boehner has again passed a measure on the floor to revisit this issue. It will go to Senate Majority Leader Mr. Reid's committee where it most likely be voted down. Here again we see that red and blue splitting of differences.

The editorial rightly points out, currently there is little in the way of a solution in sight.


For a newspaper editorial board, this bunch is surprisingly not very up-to-speed on this issue. Did you miss the news about ObamaCare's "deficiencies" that broke earlier this month? (Here's a link: http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/states-resist-obamacare ) Long story short: if the states will opt out of the Medicaid expansion and refuse to set up exchanges, they will short-circuit quite a bit of ObamaCare. Read the article for the mechanics of it, and you'll see that Speaker Denny has the right idea. If only our governor would join Perry, Scott, and the other governors refusing ObamaCare. Or will you ignore this because you don't like it?

Senator Cameron, by the way, is the last politician you should hold up as a model. He has chosen to serve his industry and donors instead of his constituents on this matter. ObamaCare isn't good law and we shouldn't waste our resources implementing it.


It concerns me when I read a piece like this. Why? It’s written with such a passive tone when it could be empowering to readers. The majority of Americans did not want the federal government jamming ObamaCare down their throats. Unfortunately, we are allowing it to happen. Elections have consequences.

Worse yet, as this Times-News editorial seems to suggest, We The People should just sit back and swallow it. I couldn’t disagree more. The government works for us. And in case you haven’t read the US Constitution, the federal government has limited and enumerated powers outlined in the document. It was created to protects us from government overreach. Regulating healthcare is not why our government was formed. It is unconstitutional!

However, those powers not given to the federal government may fall back onto the states. It's called states rights. Of course, Idahoans talks the talk but we don’t seem to have the backbone to back up what we really think or say. Instead of sucking our thumbs in dark corners, it’s time for states to stand up and just say “NO” to the federal government. Following their wagging tail is precisely why they now “own” most of Idaho land. What else are you willing to sleep through? All Americans need to start putting our state politicians on notice.

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