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.