NEWS RELEASE September 6, 2012
Idahoans remain strongly opposed to Obamacare and want the governor and Legislature to reject its big government ideas, including the expansion of Medicaid and creation of a state health insurance exchange. That's according to the results of a new statewide public opinion study commissioned by three prominent Idaho organizations - the Free Enterprise PAC, Idaho Freedom Foundation and Idaho Chooses Life.
Opposition to Medicaid expansion and a state insurance exchange was widespread and crossed party lines: 29 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of Independents and 83 percent of Republican voters oppose an insurance exchange.
"There are a lot of powerful lobbyists who want the Legislature and Governor to implement Obamacare," said Wayne Hoffman, Executive Director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. "We thought it was imperative to find out what Idahoans really want. It is quite clear that Idahoans want less government control of health care, not more. They want free market solutions and they want little to do with Obamacare."
One key question asked 600 registered voters across Idaho whether they thought the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare was "good for the country". Just 23 percent said yes, while 61 percent said no.
The next question asked respondents whether they thought Idaho should create a state insurance exchange as part of President Obama's overhaul of the health care system. As an alternative, they were presented with the argument that the Legislature should allow more companies to sell insurance in Idaho, thus increasing competition and the choices available to employers and individual families. (See addendum).
Idahoans are emphatically opposed to implementation of Obamacare in Idaho:
Just 18 percent of those interviewed support the creation of a state insurance exchange. 64 percent of Idahoans are OPPOSED to an exchange. More than that - this vast majority of Idahoans wants to see the Legislature enact free market reforms in order to improve competition and create more choices for consumers and businesses in the state.
The interviews of 600 Idaho registered voters were conducted by a national survey firm on August 28 & 29. The poll carries a margin of error of 4% +/- at the 95% confidence interval.
A second question asked voters whether they would support an expansion of Medicaid. Support for this proposal rose a bit - at least among Democratic voters - but an overwhelming 63.5 percent of all respondents believe that the Legislature should reject this expansion of government.
"I was struck by the fact that opposition to the insurance exchange flows into general opposition to President Obama's re-election," said Lou Esposito, Executive Director of the Free Enterprise PAC.
"This survey found that Mitt Romney leads Obama 58 percent to 32 percent in Idaho. Obama's attempt to take control of our health care system is a key reason he is in so much trouble in Idaho. Even among those who said they planned to vote for Obama, 31 percent want to see the Legislature expand free market competition in health care insurance, rather than implement Obama's exchange."
The study also found that opposition to a state insurance exchange was strongest among those Idahoans who held pro-Life values: only 6 percent of these Idaho voters supported creation of a state insurance exchange - while 79 percent opposed the policy initiative.
"Those of us who believe in the sanctity of life recognize that ObamaCare is the most profound threat to Life since the original Roe v. Wade decision," said David Ripley, Executive Director of Idaho Chooses Life.
"The threat to preborn children is clear from things like the Obama Mandate requiring abortion-causing drugs as part of every health care plan. But the threat goes at seniors and the disabled as well. It is significant that among those voters over 65 years of age, 64% opposed creation of an insurance exchange."
"I believe that the widespread opposition to an Exchange is more than money," Ripley added. "People are scared that government bureaucrats will be making life and death decisions for their families."
The leaders of the 3 organizations urged Governor Otter and the Legislature to not only reject a state insurance exchange and Medicaid expansion, but come together to increase the choices available to businesses and families in obtaining affordable health care insurance.
"The time is now for Idaho to provide national leadership in health care reform," said Wayne Hoffman.
"We need more providers and greater flexibility. Competition will empower individual Idahoans."