Supreme Court health care live blog

2:47 p.m. Gov. Butch Otter weighed in on the Supreme Court ruling this afternoon.

Not a lot of meat to the governor's comments, frankly. No mention of the several issues that will affect state policy — such as the health care exchange, which will now be imposed at the federal level, and the fact that states can be allowed to opt out of Medicaid expansion.

The state will need to address both matters. No inkling from this statement, however.

Why such a thin statement? According to Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Otter has been on a multi-day horseback trail ride, and spoke to staff before the statement was issued.

Here's the Otter statement:

Although five Supreme Court justices upheld Obamacare and the individual mandate under Congress’s power to tax, it does not mean it’s the right thing to do. Obamacare has been bad for America from the beginning. This is a sad day for self-determination and for individual liberty. Change is now in the hands of the American people and we must elect a new president and congressional candidates who will repeal Obamacare and protect our freedom to remain the architects of our own destiny.

11:47 a.m. Here's the last of the Idaho delegation reactions, this one from 1st Congressional District Rep. Raul Labrador.

His focus: the individual mandate. "Our Founding Fathers would be appalled that their vision of a limited government no longer exists."

Here is the Labrador statement, in full:

The decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that Obamacare is constitutional undermines the concept of limited government embodied by the Tenth Amendment. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled that their vision of a limited government no longer exists.

The court has declared that Congress has the ability to regulate Americans’ behavior by using taxes to force them to act. This should frighten all Americans who believe in freedom and liberty. It is now more clear than ever American people need leaders committed to limited government.

The underlying philosophy of Obamacare was always about more than just health care. The fundamental grievance that I have with this law, and in particular the individual mandate component, is that no government should ever be powerful enough to compel its citizens to purchase a product or a service under penalty of law. What is there now to prevent the federal government, or one of its agencies, from taxing us to compel the purchase of life insurance, a cell phone or any other product Washington deems is necessary for us all?

One of the first votes I cast as your congressman was to repeal this massive government takeover of our nation’s health care. We were right then in opposing Obamacare and we are still right now.

10:38 a.m. Here's Sen. Jim Risch's reaction to the health care ruling.

One point worth underscoring. The former Idaho governor, lieutenant governor and state senator focuses in on one issue with huge implications for the states. The Supreme Court essentially gave the states the discretion to opt out of the expansion of Medicaid, a state-federal health care program that is already putting growing pressure on the state budget. (We'll focus more on that angle in our Sunday editorial; for Friday we'll focus on the political implications of today's ruling).

Here's the full statement from Risch, R-Idaho.

The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare on the basis that it was a tax increase, something the president and Democrats have adamantly denied. The Supreme Court has now ruled that it is a tax increase, underscoring the deception by which this law passed. Those who voted for this, every Democrat in Congress, should join us in repealing this massive tax increase and replace it with a reasonable and understandable plan that reduces costs and allows Americans to choose the health care plan and provider they want.

Also, the provision of the Supreme Court’s decision which prohibits the federal government from forcing the states to expand Medicaid is a major issue. This holding will greatly limit what the law intended to do, which was to provide free health care to an additional 20 to 30 million people. With today’s ruling states will be relieved of this burden and the law’s primary objective will fail.

10:20 a.m. More from Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative lobbying group opposed to the federal health care law: "Without question, the ruling is a major blow to freedom. That said, we are not done fighting. The health care system is broken. This law makes that system worse. We plan to continue presenting solutions that help lower costs and improve health outcomes."

9:22 a.m. Congress should "redouble" its efforts to repeal the federal health care law, Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson said this morning.

From a statement, Simpson said, “While I accept the Supreme Court’s decision, I am disappointed that the government now has the ability to tax American citizens if they don’t purchase a private product and I remain concerned with the precedent that sets for the future. If Americans can be taxed for not purchasing health insurance, the government’s ability to tax, or punish, American citizens as a means of driving their behavior seems unlimited. It is difficult not to see this as an approval of the significant expansion of the power of the federal government into the everyday lives of citizens.”

Like Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Simpson is talking about repeal — and market-driven reform.

“While the Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare is constitutional, they have not said that it is a good idea or that it will bring down costs. Congress should re-double its effort to repeal Obamacare and begin the process of enacting market-based reforms that will truly lower costs and increase access.”

9:09 a.m. Sen. Mike Crapo says he tried to push an amendment to the health care law that would have stripped the law of its taxing authority — the very language that rescued this law in Supreme Court.

"We were engaged in that debate," Crapo, R-Idaho, told me in an interview this morning.

The Supreme Court rejected the health care law's individual mandate on Commerce Clause issues, but upheld it, in a 5-4 decision, on its ability to levy taxes and penalties on people who do not obtain health insurance.

And the assertion that the law includes tax increases — despite assurances from President Obama that taxes would not increase for anyone making under $250,000 a year — will add to the momentum for repeal.

"The support for a repeal is very strong," Crapo said. "This is back in the lap of Congress."

But, as Crapo concedes, repeal is a non-starter as long as Democrats hold the White House and the Senate.

8:48 a.m. Want to read the Supreme Court ruling for yourself?


8:43 a.m. A little back-and-forth from the Twitterverse this morning.

• Idaho Freedom Foundation (@idahofreedom), a conservative lobbying group opposed to the health care law: "Not a good day for freedom."

• Branden Durst, a Boise Democrat and state Senate candidate, in response: "Not a good day, a great day?"

8:27 a.m. Dewey Beats Truman, the 2012 edition? One of the big losers from this morning: CNN. Had to back away big time from inaccurate report that the Supreme Court had tossed out the individual mandate. Yikes.

A couple quick Twitter reactions:

• Jeff Reynolds (@ThinkJeffThink): "I wonder why @cnn's ratings are going down the toilet?"

• John M. Foster (@readingtherecae): "... always, always, ALWAYS trust the Associated Press."

• Brian Cronin (@brianccronin): "That may be the last time I head to first. Boy, did they blow it."

8:18 a.m. Well, we've huddled about what to post on our home page. CNN is backing off of reports that the individual mandate was tossed out. Now, the Associated Press is reporting it's been upheld. So we're going with AP.

8:08 a.m. A pre-reaction from Obama for America campaign manager (and Boise native) Jim Messina: Send money.

From a fundraising email earlier this morning:

"We don't know what will happen this morning.

But no matter what, today is an important day to have Barack Obama's back.

If you're with him, donate now -- before this week's critical fundraising deadline."

8:00 a.m.: No word yet on the Supreme Court and health care. I'll refresh this blog today with news and reactions from the politicos and the social media universe. Check back for updates.

"Not a good day for freedom"?

Freedom doesn't spend a week in the hospital. In agreement with Branden Durst, it's a great day.


What happens now in Idaho regarding the Health Care Exchange? Because of the time factor do we use the federal exchange? What are our state's leaders saying about this?

Idaho decided months ago

to go with the federal exchange

Can't wait

to hear future god's health plan. Right.

I must say I'm surprised at the decision. The AHA is a good start to universal healthcare, and maybe we will eventually see the end of medical bankruptcies...


and needless deaths from lack of medical care...


Thank you Judge Roberts!

The Finding that this is a tax

Despite it being passed it as "not a tax" will have repercussions. The Supreme court does not have the power to create a tax.



the ability to tax American citizens

if they don’t purchase a private product" Isn't that exactly what the republicans in Idaho want to do with education? They want to tax folks and force them to pay private for-profit companies.

Such as,

the companies that sell text books and pupil transportation equipment? Don't be ridiculous.

before the Legislature rejects Medicaid expansion

and they're probably considering a special session to do so this minute, I hope they figure out on the back of an envelope what it would cost, vs. what the continued expansion of the cat fund is costing. The results may surprise them.

Dursty, Dursty, Dursty

Love how the only one who was listed as excited about the Supreme Courts ruling is little Durst. I wonder who payed him to say that?