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Posted on: 09/29/13
Late last night, members of the U.S. House of Representatives passed another version of the government funding authorization, with the proviso that ObamaCare be delayed for one year. The new Continuing Resolution passed by a vote of 231 to 192. (8 members of Congress failed to vote, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who was busy with social priorities back in California).

The last section of the ObamaCare language specifically prohibits the Department of Health & Human Services from enforcing its Contraceptive/Abortifacient Mandate on American employers who object for reasons of conscience.

Both Idaho Congressmen - Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson - voted for the latest attempt by House Republicans to keep the government operating past the September 31st fiscal year deadline.

Democrat leader Harry Reid has indicated that he will not convene the Senate today to even consider the revised compromise language adopted by the House of Representatives.


Posted on: 01/29/13
4 Reasons Why a State-Based Exchange is BAD for Idaho

by Sen. Russ Fulcher, Senate GOP Caucus Chairman

The legislature will soon vote whether or not to create a state-based health exchange in Idaho. An exchange is the implementation mechanism for Obamacare (ie: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA). At this point, a state-based exchange is the wrong move for Idaho, and here are four reasons why:

1. IDAHO'S IMPLEMENTATION OF A STATE-BASED HEALTH EXCHANGE IS A FORM OF VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE THAT SUPPORTS PPACA, AND THAT HAS NEGATIVE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS FOR IDAHO. Voluntary compliance, and the acceptance of federal money that comes with it, will weaken Idaho's legal position in lawsuits likely to be filed in the future. PPACA is very complicated and controversial. Aspects of it are certain to be litigated for years to come. Examples of potential lawsuits include: mandatory coverage for the dispensing of abortifacients, and the federal government's use/misuse of personal data gathered on citizens.

The State of Oklahoma has already filed a lawsuit claiming that the federal government does not have the power to mandate individuals to buy health insurance simply as a condition of being a citizen. Idaho may want to take similar action(s), and that will be more difficult if Idaho is a voluntary compliant federal partner operating a state-based exchange.

2. IDAHO'S VOLUNTARY IMPLEMENTATION OF A STATE BASED EXCHANGE WILL ALSO MEAN THAT THE STATE WILL BE IN CHARGE OF ENFORCEMENT OF PPACA - There are at least six mandates in PPACA that have to do with the collection of personal information on citizens; including information regarding income, assets, and personal health. Implementation of PPACA will result in the creation of a massive, personal database on all Americans. One can only speculate on the governments' potential uses (or misuses) of this data. Many Idahoans will not want to provide this information; and the state would be in charge of enforcement. Enforcement actions will create friction between state government and the people it serves. Federal officials know that enforcement of PPACA will be very unpopular and they do not want this responsibility.

3. FOR THE LONG-TERM HEALTH OF THE PRIVATE INSURANCE INDUSTRY - Part of the evil genius of PPACA is that it depends on the private insurance industry to put the exchange mechanism in place. Ironically the organizations pushing hardest to implement state-based exchanges (the insurance carriers) have the most to lose, and here is why:

PPACA provides a government mandated increase in the number of policy-holders. Over the short-term, this will result in significant increases in revenue to insurance carriers; and understandably that is very exciting to the industry. However, what the insurance carriers aren't considering is the long-term impact of a nation-wide exchange system under the auspice of the federal government. Once exchanges are implemented nation-wide, dependence on insurance carriers will be significantly reduced. At that point the system will be in place and it will make fiscal sense for the federal government to transition to a single-payer, federally administered social health care system nationwide. Maybe a few large carriers will remain (to run the books), but the private insurance industry as we know it will be gone. No one knows for sure exactly what will happen or how soon, but at a minimum the health insurance industry will be an oligopoly of quasi government administrators. At maximum, they will be gone. Either way, it is a devastating loss of free market capitalism in America.

4. IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE FOR STATE LEADERS TO IMPOSE LEGISLATION UPON THE CITIZENS IT SERVES FOR WHICH NO ONE NOWS THE COSTS AND THE RULES. The costs are not known and the rules are not written yet. It is responsible and wise to have the answers to these questions answered before proceeding with a state-based exchange.

According to the Kaiser Foundation, 25 states (as of Jan. 4, 2013) have opted NOT to cooperate with the federal government via a state-based exchange. With expertise and fiscal resources scarce, and with other complications caused by an unpopular nationwide mandate for citizens to purchase insurance (PPACA), the federal government is under immense pressure having to impose federal-based exchanges in so many states. The feds should be granted every opportunity to fail, and hopefully they will. Additionally, there are other political dynamics are at work in Washington DC that can make life more difficult for those seeking to implement PPACA. For example: The "fiscal cliff" (& ramifications) and the debt ceiling (& ramifications)...basically all the wondrous side-effects of a government in debt some $16 trillion.

The Idaho Republican Party, Farm Bureau, Tea Party, Idaho Freedom Foundation, Idaho Chooses Life and many others are correct: Idaho has much to gain and little to lose by refusing a state-based exchange. Accordingly, Idaho should be added to the growing list of states that do not comply.

Proponents of a state-based exchange claim such implementation "will put Idaho at the negotiating table". This is false. Once Idaho complies with the state-based exchange, there is NO "negotiation table"...and there is no way the feds are going to make an exception for Idaho and sit down to negotiate terms.

Proponents also claim Idaho needs to "leave its options open". This is good policy and substantiates the decision NOT to cooperate with a state-based exchange unless we absolutely, positively have to someday. FYI: Both HHS (Human Health Services) and the Heritage Foundation agree that states can transition to a state based exchange later - even if the feds come in an impose one in the mean time. There is no rush.


If you believe in the principles of socialism and turning over an INCREMENTAL 1/6 of the nation-wide GDP to the federal government (via healthcare), then you will want to support the state-based exchange.

If you believe in the free market, capitalism, personal responsibility and liberty, you will NOT want to cooperate with a state-based exchange.


Posted on: 01/16/13
The debate intensifies in the Idaho Legislature over whether we should submit to President Obama and become his reluctant partner in reshaping not just health care, but America itself. Proponents of creating a state insurance exchange continue to argue that Idaho should have a seat at the table. Perhaps, they insist, we will be able to bargain for better conditions of servitude if we partner with Obama.

And certainly thousands of details regarding Obama remain unknown because federal bureaucrats have yet to invent them.

But one fundamental is more than clear: We will have precious little power and much responsibility under the terms of surrender.

We know this already from the way the Feds treat Idaho in operating the other great partnership, Medicaid.

Betsy Russell of the Spokesman Review reports that Idaho is already under the gun with respect to Medicaid changes demanded by Obama's regime. These changes - separate from the "expansion" of Medicaid - will apparently result in an increase of some 70,000 on Idaho's Medicaid rolls. This set of changes is "mandatory", according to Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong.

Russell says that "Idaho could lose huge amounts of its funding for its current Medicaid program if it didn't comply with the changed rules".

She goes on to quote Armstrong as telling legislators, "We have to comply with the mandatory requirements ACA (ObamaCare) makes to Medicaid. The stakes are huge if we don't".

That is the current picture, and a flash photo of the future under ObamaCare. Our elected officials, chosen to implement policies to benefit the sovereign state of Idaho, are already being treated as rubber-stamp bureaucrats by the federal government with respect to the current Medicaid program. 

The mantra, should we implement ObamaCare through a state insurance exchange, will forever be, "the consequences of non-compliance will be huge".  Just a re-run of the movie we're already forced to watch, at great cost to taxpayers and employers.

As Chief Justice John Roberts urged in his opinion on ObamaCare, the States must take a stand.

Idaho must continue to resist the further erosion of its sovereignty by refusing to create a state insurance exchange.


Posted on: 02/28/12
The insurance industry brought forth HB423 with an eye toward creating an even more monopolistic business environment than they already enjoy. Fortunately for Idaho small businesses and struggling families, a majority of Republicans on the House Business Committee killed the legislation.

Under the legislation, the Department of Insurance would be given even greater powers to regulate the rates charged by companies offering health insurance in the state. Specifically, Bill Deal would be able to outlaw plans in the state that he deemed to be too costly or too cheap. It was this latter provision which really caught our attention: HB423 defined "inadequate" rates as those which might "disrupt the insurance marketplace".

Let's translate: As we read the legislation, if a company came into Idaho and tried to undercut the giants like Blue Cross - the Department of Insurance could force the competitor to raise their premiums so that Blue Cross would not be unduly discomfited by the competition.

What?! As one businessman testified during the hearing - we should all be praying for a little disruption in a marketplace which sees regular double-digit increases in premiums.

Despite the fact that the legislation would lead to increased regulation of the private sector, and despite the fact that it would also implement part of the ObamaCare regulations - the only 3 insurance companies allowed to sell health care insurance all showed up to bless the bill: Blue Cross, Regence Blue Shield and Pacific Source. But, then, why wouldn't they? It pretty much locks up their monopoly in Idaho.

The motion to pass the bill came from Democrat John Rusche. Not only is he a doctor, he is involved in the insurance industry. (During the brief discussion of his motion, Rusche actually argued that the bill would help Idaho defend itself against the federal government's intrusion into health care - despite the fact that he is an ardent defender of ObamaCare).

No surprise that Rusche was joined by the other Democrats present in supporting more government.

More disturbingly, his motion to support the Insurance Trust was backed by Republicans Jeff Thompson, Carlos Bilbao and Marge Chadderdon.

Reps. Vito Barbieri and Cliff Bayer led the defense of Idaho's small businesses and consumers. They were joined by Reps. Brent Crane, Frank Henderson, Joe Palmer, Reed DeMordaunt, Jim Guthrie, Jim Patrick and Gayle Batt.



Posted on: 11/14/11
By any measure, ObamaCare is already a tremendous failure. New estimates developed by the Gallup organization indicate that some 4.5 million Americans have lost their health insurance since Obama signed his dream act into law.

When Congress was debating the legislation, the Congressional Budget Office - probably under intense pressure from Princess Nancy and Democrat leaders - claimed that the number of insured Americans would actually increase in the first year of federalized health care. By some 6 million.

That means we are something on the order of 10 million families behind the estimates CBO used to calculate the cost of ObamaCare. Put another way, those people should be on private insurance plans, reducing the public cost of covering uninsured families. So not only do we see the problem of health care access growing under the president's plan, we are experiencing rising costs.

To say that those outcomes are the exact opposite of what Pelosi and Obama promised the American people is to understate the matter.

Critics pointed out that federalization would naturally destroy the private insurance sector, or at least make it a wholly-owned subsidiary of the government. That could only increase costs and bureaucracy. It is simply a law of nature that anything the government subsidizes becomes more expensive.

This problem is coming to Idaho. The state's insurance lobby is already working overtime to force Idaho legislators to go along with a plan to create Obama's "insurance exchange" here. Their calculus is that they must aggressively move to get a piece of the federal subsidies - or be forced out of the health insurance market altogether. This will no doubt be one of the signature issues of the 2012 session.


Posted on: 04/05/11
Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed SB1115 into law on Monday. This legislation would prohibit any future insurance exchange established under ObamaCare from providing elective abortion insurance.

Hopefully the entire menace of ObamaCare can be beaten back through the courts or the Congress. But if Idaho is forced into participating in this federalized health care system, then this step by the Legislature will prove vitally important.

Research by the Abortion Industry itself demonstrates that public funding of abortion greatly increases the chances a woman will choose to end her baby's life before it draws a breath.

That makes sense. More than the lure of "free" money and "free" pass out of a difficult situation, the offer of taxpayer-paid abortions implies a public approval of that abortion. The woman, or girl, in a challenging pregnancy can easily reason that if the government is willing to pay for the abortion, it must be the right thing to do. Who voluntarily pays for evil?

We have spent much time this session dealing with public financing of abortions for this very reason. Not only did we press for this bill to become law, but we have put enormous effort into fixing the abortion funding rules used by the Department of Health & Welfare. (HCR 23). In tough economic times, the money matters. But much more important is the question of public sanction of a "private" decision to end the life of an innocent.

For a woman under pressure, the lure of a "free" abortion is virtually coercive.

We commend Governor Otter for signing this bill, and for his entire crusade against ObamaCare. We wish to publicly thank Sen. Curt McKenzie and Rep. Brent Crane for serving as lead sponsors of this crucial bill in the Legislature.


Posted on: 04/08/10
A new national precedent may be in the works. In the wake of Bart Stupak's decision to back President Obama's abortion-expansion bill, Indiana Right to Life has established a new policy of not endorsing any Democrats for political office. The policy will hold regardless of a candidate's claim to be "pro-Life".

The Indiana pro-Life movement is feeling particularly betrayed by the final vote on Obama's health care bill: 3 Democrats who have always claimed to be pro-Life joined Stupak in getting Pelosi the votes she needed to impose her abortion agenda on America. Indiana Democrats Brad Ellsworth, Joe Donnelly and Baron Hill were accused of breaking faith with the pro-Life movement, which had previously supported their candidacies.

"Ellsworth's collapse under pressure from the White House and Speaker Pelosi ... leaves us no alternative," said Right to Life Executive Director Mike Fichter. "Leadership matters, and the reality is that Democratic leaders are advancing an abortion agenda at an alarming rate...."

There may have been a day when it was possible to be a Democrat and a pro-Lifer, but those days are and circumstances are becoming increasingly rare with the radical leadership now in firm control of the national party. That same ideological purity is tightening its grip here in Idaho.

In the last session of the Idaho Legislature, all Senate Democrats opposed our conscience legislation - which is tantamount to an official refusal to even acknowledge the right of others to see the abortion issue differently from themselves. There were two brave souls in the Idaho House - James Ruchti and Branden Durst - who had the guts to buck the choke-hold that abortion zealots have on the party. But they paid a big personal price.

It is difficult for the average American to grasp how abortion-obsessed Obama & Co. are. As we face unprecedented challenges - staggering debt, huge unemployment, wars in two nations - it is almost unbelievable to read that these people have the time and energy to impose their abortion agenda not just on Americans - but on foreign nations, as well. Last week, Hillary Clinton used the power of her high office to demand that the Canadian government support her agenda of creating an abortion right in every nation on the planet. Today we learn that President Obama is applying heavy pressure on the government of his native Kenya to create a constitutional right to abortion.

That kind of manic fixation on abortion will ultimately force Democrats of conscience to withdraw their participation from a party whose highest agenda item seems to be the destruction of new life in the womb.


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