December 19, 2012

Action Alert – Part 2

Filed under: The City's Pulse — mary @ 2:20 pm

Mary Souza’s Newsletter  -3

As promised yesterday, let’s talk about Obamacare in Idaho.  This is a serious problem that needs our prompt attention.  Decisions will be made over the next few weeks that will impact our state, our economy and our nation forever. 

Governor Butch Otter recently announced that Idaho will participate in Obamacare by setting up state exchanges for that healthcare program.  He was probably talked into it by leaders from the “Blues” (Blue Cross & Blue Shield), the Hospital Associations, the Association of Cities and other groups that will benefit financially.

The rest of us will not.  Small business, medium business an even big business will be hurt by the financial burdens of this mandate.  Jobs will be cut and many will be changed to part time only.  People will suffer.

But I’m guessing the Governor has been told that, even though he doesn’t like Obamacare, setting up a state exchange rather than letting the Feds come in and set one up later would give Idaho some control over the program.  That idea has been proven false.  The Federal government will control every aspect of the exchanges, and they are rewriting the rules almost daily.

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent column that addresses these very problems. Please take the time to read the column, it is well worth the effort.

The WSJ details the many myths put out by the Feds to entice states to set up the exchanges.  But states don’t need to hurry; there’s no penalty for waiting.  There’s no downside to letting this whole game play out.  So far 26 states have said NO to setting up the exchanges.  Why is Idaho not one of those states resisting this program?

With Congressional Republicans controlling the government purse strings by having the majority in the House of Representatives, they can reject any funding for the Feds setting up exchanges in the states.  That alone will delay the implementation of the program.  Additionally, there are so many legal problems with the poorly written Obamacare bill, numerous key provisions will be tied up in courts for years.  (Don’t get me started on the privacy issues—we will have no privacy at all under this plan.)

Idaho Freedom Foundation has been the front line of resistance to  Obamacare in our state.  They deserve a huge thank you for all their efforts!  IFF Director Wayne Hoffman was on the Governor’s special working group to study Obamacare in Idaho.  There were 12 people in that group, but it was full of self-serving  professionals who support state exchanges.  Only two people thought otherwise:  Wayne Hoffman from IFF and State Representative Lynn Luker.  Wayne and Lynn wrote a list of 16 detailed concerns about starting health care exchanges in Idaho.  They presented it to the working group as an Addendum to the committee’s report, but the committee voted overwhelmingly to nix the Addendum, so it was not included in the information sent to the Governor.

Do you remember the Real ID law?  Wayne Hoffman reminded me of this when he asked to see my “National ID”.  His point was that the Real ID law was passed back in 2005.  But Idaho stood strong, as did 24 other states, and refused to enact the law.  Real ID just slipped quietly away.  You didn’t even remember it, did you?  So maybe, just maybe, with the big mess that is Obamacare, if the majority of states resist its implementation, maybe it will go away or be changed into something more reasonable, functional and fair.

Now here’s where YOU are needed.  Butch Otter needs to hear from you, and so do all of your legislators.  The Governor said he favors the state exchanges but he also said he might be open to changing his mind.  The legislators will be voting on this issue very soon after they convene the new session in early January.

Can you please write a note or an email to each of your legislators and the Governor? Click here for the list.  They have told me personally that emails and letters really make a difference.  I know that all of the CdA, Post Falls and Hayden legislators are against the state exchanges EXCEPT these few:  Ed Morse is unsure. Luke Malek is still studying it, and John Goedde is an insurance guy who’s all in favor of them.  Please write to ALL of your legislators but be especially firm with these three.

Resistance is an option.  Many local business owners, community leaders and legislators recognize the need to stop the state exchanges.  We cannot let the Federal government take our individual and state’s rights. Please help us convince the Governor to join the 26 other states in this important effort.

All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing. (Edmund Burke)

My best to you,



  1. “People will suffer” people are suffering, thanks for the list of e-mails, I’ll be sure to send some out.

    Comment by Eric — December 19, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

  2. Altho the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, by far, it’s the only way all citizens will get access to health care. It’s s first step, and a pretty lame one at that…but that’s because of politics at play. I can only hope that it gets changed to be a single payer system fashioned similar to medicare and phased in over a period of years.

    All of our citizens should have health care, not just those that can afford it. Anyone who thinks all citizens has access to healthcare is sadly mistaken and in denial. This is America for crying out loud. England is so proud of their healthcare system that they showcased it during the Olympic opening ceremonies. It works. WE can make it work better.

    I wish our state and ALL the politicians would stop fighting and playing partisan politics (that’s ALL they know) and work together to find a way to make healthcare for ALL work in this country.

    Health care should NOT be a for profit business.

    Stop the fighting, partisan playing, and delaying and start helping find the way to affordable health care for every citizen!
    Please. People are waiting for and suffering without healthcare.

    Comment by chouli — December 20, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  3. I couldn’t disagree with you more, Chouli, but I appreciate you sharing your view.

    Obamacare is not about health care, it is about CONTROL.

    If the government pays for everyone’s healthcare, the government will be able to tell everyone what they can and cannot eat & drink, and what they can and cannot do. It’s happening already in NY–stipulations on salt in restaurants, restrictions on how big sodas can be, etc. And they’re just getting warmed up.

    I don’t want the government to tell me what to do in my personal life, but if they pay, they control.

    The present system is not working well, we can agree on that for sure. But why not open insurance competition across state lines and encourage individual health savings accounts–not like those today–where people can take responsibility for their own health? There are some very interesting plans along these lines that have been created by experts outside the insurance and government industries.

    You and I can also agree that politics is the major problem in how the current system has gone bad. We need to restructure the whole thing based on our American values of individual freedom and personal responsibility.

    Comment by mary — December 21, 2012 @ 8:33 am

  4. I see your point Mary, and I understand Chouli’s position. It’s just tough.

    Healthcare is a mess. It has to be fixed, we have to do something.

    If you are so against healthcare reform, then why not refuse to carry liability for your car?

    I don’t like the “mandate” so to speak, but I also don’t mind paying something if it’s fair and I actually get healthcare. After this ankle injury of mine, we are biting the bullet and our insurance costs will take an entire paycheck. We still won’t be able to meet the deductible, that will go on the back burner, but we cannot afford to be without it.

    People become homeless because of injuries – people like me. I was reading about this homeless guy who was injured so badly, he lost his job and everything. He was able to get into a housing program that will take 1/3 of his income. He has to make less than 12,000 dollars a year and he has been denied disability twice. He could not frigging walk. I am one of the lucky ones, but I can certainly empathize with his situation. This man, will still be paying in something – and my guess, is after what he has been thru, he will be happy to give. He got hit while riding his bike. I doubt if this health care reform is going to make him suffer anymore than he already has. He gets a concrete floor with a built in bed between 358 to 758 square feet so the housing is more affordable with less maintenance. This Catholic charity in cooperation with the Housing Finance Commision in Washington is the only thing that will get him back on track again. It happens to good people.

    What plan is out there that would keep American values and personal responsibility in check with this man? What can he do better and so many like him, so he can afford to pay ALL of his own way?

    People will just start to give up. They won’t work for a business or take a job that does not give them enough to provide adequate insurance. It pays not to.

    If you have your own insurance, the government is not going to mandate anything for those who can already pay.

    It is about personal responsibility and individual freedom. It is also about humanitarian regard.

    Comment by Stebbijo — December 21, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  5. correction : less than $13,000

    Comment by Stebbijo — December 21, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  6. Steb, that has to be one of your best posts ever, thank you.

    We all share the burden of building roads, we all pay even though there are people out there driving that shouldn’t. We pay for fire protection even though some poor sob might fall asleep with a Marlboro or a nice mom might fall asleep leaving a scented candle burning.

    Some things will always be beyond our control and Steb shouldn’t have to struggle finacially because of an ankle injury.
    I’m glad to pay for roads to I can travel safely, I’m glad to help pay for fire protection in case my house catches on fire. And I’m glad to work with everyone so that a person that gets cancer doesn’t have to die in poverty and thus pass that poverty on to their next generation.

    Comment by Eric — December 21, 2012 @ 11:57 am

  7. Let’s go into a bit more detail: Insurance costs are absurdly high right now and have been going up, and up significantly, since Obamacare was passed. The government wants to require, mandate, force people to join their plan. I don’t want to join their plan.

    (and wait until you hear about all the personal non-medical info you’ll have to give them to put in the big Obamacare database that will also be available to other departments…yikes.)

    I do not have to own a car. I do not have to drive my car. But if choose to do so, I have to have liability insurance. I can choose from hundreds of competing companies all across the country. So the cost of my policy will probably be pretty fair.

    To buy health insurance, currently, I can only choose between the very few companies approved by the Idaho Insurance Commission. My rates are nowhere near fair.

    We probably all agree that people who cannot support themselves should have help from the government–if they want it. But the more people control the money and choices for their own health, the better and more effective their healthcare will be.

    I remember lots and lots of years ago, when I got my Master’s degree in Health Education, the big theme of the day back then was taking responsibility for your own health. It should be the theme today. That does not mean we go without insurance of any kind, but there are ways to structure the policies and pricing that will encourage personal responsibility and wellness.

    Comment by mary — December 21, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  8. I am open to alternatives to ACA as long as EVERY CITIZEN gets healthcare. Why can’t we provide healthcare for all of our citizens in a meaningful way that takes the huge profits out of every aspect of the healthcare industry so it can be easily accessable and affordable for everyone.
    Personally, I don’t want insurance that has every loophole to deny coverage and still charge an arm and a leg. Many people will not be able to afford it.
    If the ACA is more about power than healthcare coverage (as Mary stated)then what is the answer? How do we get to universal healthcare from here?

    Comment by chouli — December 21, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  9. You do not have to join their plan Mary, neither do I. But if we don’t we will have the IRS on us – what’s new?

    We pay for insurance thru my husband’s job. My job that is supported by a multi million dollar financial company cannot even offer affordable major medical but it can pay millions in fines because of poor business practices. Greed is such a waste.

    Rates are high because of the abuse – when more of us pay in and I am told upwardly to around 100 million in Idaho, costs should go down. I might be able to get a lesser rate in the exchange and in turn this may lower plans for employers with group plans on the rise. There will be caps and coverage for pre-existing conditions. This is in Idaho. Even if it fails and most likely it will, those politicians that do not want to even try look like cold hearted individuals who want folks without money to just gracefully die and get out of the way. It may not be the case, but it is how it looks.

    People won’t have to BEG. Children who need bone marrow transplants won’t die because of the wait to find funds – their parents will have a sense of security.

    Trying to convince lower income folks that the government is going after them and they will suffer if they do not fight the feds on health insurance makes no sense. They have nothing to lose – it’s already gone.

    I am very open to the alternatives you describe, Mary. You tell us, “That does not mean we go without insurance of any kind, but there are ways to structure the policies and pricing that will encourage personal responsibility and wellness.”

    Where are they? They are not out there that I know of. I’ve looked. A person can become insurance poor – if you get all the coverage you really need to cover specific instances and conditions.

    There is only one participating doctor’s office in Idaho that will reduce primary costs for folks who cannot afford major medical thru a direct health care plan. There are several that are joining the pool in the state of Washington but not Idaho. Why, do they fear they will lose money? Do doctors, not make enough money?

    However, are no separate – hospitalization opportunities – policies out there, that I know of – that are affordable and cover expenses.

    Most rates are not fair – for either lower income or higher income. Higher income, however, can afford to take work off and they can pay the excess. They can still afford their premiums while they keep their condo as a deduction and still afford the gas for their nice cabin cruiser. Why, so many politicians in Idaho (with insurance and their own acquired wealth and success) would be against a structured health exchange for some people – while they maintain their own choices is beyond me.

    Do I begrudge those who are successful? No, I just don’t know why they are so against coverage for others who are not as financially capable.

    You do not have to choose to own a car – I get that. But, in this day and age, it’s makes life pretty miserable, not to have one. It’s really a basic need and not a luxury any longer. Affordable healthcare is a need.

    I hope Idaho gives this a good try. I would like to see it work. We will have more power if we stand together if we want to ward off the feds. I hope it works out Mary. I agree with most of what you have to say, we just see this issue a little differently.

    Comment by Stebbijo — December 21, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

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