Well, the CdA City Council showed their true colors once again Tuesday night. They approved the purchase of Person and Bryan Fields, but not before taking about 20 minutes to bash the School Board and Superintendent who were all sitting in the audience. It was incredibly unprofessional. Dan Gookin did not participate in the attack and Steve Adams was not present, but the rest of them went at it. And this was all to do with a land purchase deal that they verbally agreed to last month. The details did not change, but now we witnessed the obvious political posturing of the Mayor and most of the Council. I’ll delve into their possible motives at the end of this newsletter, but right now we have far more important things to discuss.
The Idaho Senate Committee just allowed the bill to establish State Insurance Exchanges as part of ObamaCare to come out of committee and be heard by the full Senate. And our Senator John Goedde voted in favor of it. This is a big problem. Idaho should NOT set up the insurance exchanges and I’d like to tell you why:
Experts say that Idaho will be giving away its control if it sets up state exchanges. This is a counterintuitive idea because the Governor thinks setting up state exchanges will increase our control. Not so, says the CATO Institute, which is a very well-respected conservative research organization in DC. Their Michael Cannon gave a video presentation to a group of Idaho citizens and legislators recently. I watched it online at the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s web site and you can too by clicking here.
Let me give you some of the main points from the CATO Institute:
1. Gov. Otter says it’s not good for Idaho to give up control to the Feds. Ok, but the problem is that setting up the state health care exchanges will give away ALL the control to the Feds. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (SHHS), under the Obamacare law, will have full control over everything, no matter whether the state sets up the exchanges or the Feds set them up.
2. In fact, the only way for Idaho to keep some control is NOT to set up the exchanges. The moment the state sets them up, we surrender ANY and ALL control to the SHHS.
3. On a happy note, if Idaho does not set up the exchanges, many parts of Obamacare can be blocked. One example is the Employer Mandate in Obamacare, which will charge up to $2000 for every worker not covered by insurance in companies with 50 or more employees. This mandate will be completely blocked if Idaho does not set up state exchanges.
4. There are 32 other states that are not setting up their own exchanges and will not have the Employer Mandate to enforce, which means they will have a competitive advantage for attracting business relocation. Idaho will not, if we set up our own exchanges like Gov. Otter and the Senate Committee want to do.
5. If Idaho loses more of its competitive edge by setting up the exchanges, jobs will leave the state and the economy will turn downward again.
6. Gov. Otter says, “It’s the law”, so he thinks he’s required to enforce it. But that’s also not true. Obamacare says the state exchanges are “optional”.
7. Utah set up state exchanges and is now wishing they wouldn’t have done so, calling the regulations “onerous”. They are trying to back out of the process but they have to ask the Feds to let them.
8. And if Idaho joins the other 26 states who are refusing to have any exchanges (some others are doing a joint state-fed combination), we can band together and we can strengthen our existing 2009 Idaho Healthcare Freedom law that forbids any state official from assisting in enforcement of any penalties on any company or individual for failing to purchase health insurance in our state.
Recently, new Representatives Luke Malek and Ed Morse joined a group of other freshman in the House to add an addendum to Gov. Otter’s bill to establish the exchanges. The new add-ons try to increase Federal transparency and accountability. But it does nothing to give Idaho control over the process. It can’t. This is a bad situation and adding some new language is like putting lipstick on a pig. We have to say NO to the whole idea of the exchanges and then get busy with a free market solution for Idaho. It can be done.
Please call or email our three local legislators, listed below, who are favoring Gov. Otter’s bill. Tell them Idaho needs to say No. And please do it right away because this bill is under consideration in the Senate today!
Senator John W. Goedde (R) E-mail
District 4, Coeur d’Alene
1010 E. Mullan, Unit 203, Coeur d’Alene, 83814
Home (208) 660-7663
Bus (208) 664-9223
FAX (208) 906-8083
Representative Luke Malek (R) E-mail
District 4, Coeur d’Alene
House Seat A
721 N. 8th St., Coeur d’Alene, 83814
Home (208) 661-3881
Bus (208) 661-3881
Representative Ed Morse (R) E-mail
District 2, Hayden
House Seat B
P.O. Box 3294, Hayden, 83835
Home (208) 762-1560
Bus (208) 667-5583
FAX (208) 664-1417
And now let’s get back to the City Council’s embarrassing behavior Tuesday night. Why do you think they were all smiles and happy to approve the deal last month but are crabbing about it now? I think it all centers around the upcoming School Board elections. The CdA City Council is predominantly Democrat, especially Mike Kennedy, the Mayor, Deanna, Woody and Ron. I don’t care that the Mayor says she’s non-partisan and that Deanna claims, astoundingly, that she’s Republican. It’s actions that speak loudest and these people have never met a new tax or fee or spending project they didn’t love—except the Person-Bryan Field purchase right now.
The School Board is currently conservative, and that drives the CdA Teacher’s Union crazy. They hate it. They are desperate to oust as many Board members as possible so they want to make them look bad at every turn. Mike Kennedy and the rest of the Council need the support of the Teacher’s Union for whatever political step is next on their agenda, so they were more than willing to sling the insults and accusations Tuesday night. One of them called the land purchase deal “blackmail” by the School Board. So much for healing the community and visioning a cohesive future.
There’s much more to talk about, dear readers, but we’ll have to save it for next time. Please call or email Boise and a great rest of the week! –Mary