First District Rep. Raul Labrador joined 12 senators and 59 other representatives in writing a letter to the National Governors Association suggesting they not exercise the option to set up state-run health exchanges under Obamacare. Instead, Labrador and his colleagues say the law should be repealed.
“I urge Governor Otter to not implement an expensive, intrusive, punitive health exchange on the businesses and people of Idaho," said Labrador in a news release late Tuesday afternoon. "I urge all Governors to let Congress finish the job the American people sent us to do, to fully repeal Obamacare and replace it with common-sense free market solutions.”
The letter to the governors is dated June 29, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the exchanges and the bulk of the law, also called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Idaho's other members of Congress, Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and GOP Rep. Mike Simpson, did not sign the letter, which was organized by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Jim Jordan of Ohio.
If states don't establish health exchanges as a one-stop shopping tool to help consumers purchase health insurance, the federal government will do so. In Idaho, businesses led by the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry urged the Legislature and Gov. Butch Otter to craft an Idaho exchange, but the Legislature never took the matter up because of opposition to the law.
Otter's insurance chief, Department of Insurance Director Bill Deal, presented a draft bill which was endorsed by an interim legislative committee, but a hearing was not held this year. Blue Cross of Idaho has urged Otter to call a special session of the Legislature to meet a November deadline. But Otter said last week he is not inclined to call a special session.
The texts of the news release and the letter follow:
LABRADOR JOINS DeMINT, BACHMANN, JORDAN IN WRITING ALL 50 GOVERNORS URGING THEM TO REJECT STATE HEALTH EXCHANGES
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Idaho First District Congressman Raúl Labrador joined Senator Jim DeMint (SC), Congresswoman Michele Bachman (MN-06), Congressman Jim Jordan (OH-04) and 11 other senators and fifty-nine of his colleagues in the House in sending a letter to all 50 governors urging them not to set up state health exchanges, as directed under the provisions of Obamacare.
“The first vote I cast as congressman was to repeal Obamacare. Last week’s Supreme Court ruling made it clear that Congress must complete the task of fully repealing this terrible law which the majority of Americans oppose.”
“In the Idaho Legislature, I was a proud sponsor of the Idaho Health Care Freedom Act. That law was the catalyst for Idaho's principled stand against the federal government's intrusion into our healthcare decisions. We were right then in opposing Obamacare in the courts and we are right now in our continued effort to repeal this law.”
“I urge Governor Otter to not implement an expensive, intrusive, punitive health exchange on the businesses and people of Idaho. I urge all Governors to let Congress finish the job the American people sent us to do, to fully repeal Obamacare and replace it with common-sense free market solutions.”
The June 29 letter:
National Governors Association
Hall of States
444 N. Capitol St., Ste. 267
Washington D.C. 20001-1512
The Supreme Court has ruled significant parts of the Medicaid expansion of the President’s health care law
unconstitutional as well as ruling that the individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause and will therefore
be implemented as a punitive tax on the middle class. This presents us with a critical Choice: Do we allow this
reprehensible law to move forward or do we fully repeal it and start over with common sense solutions? The
American people have made it clear that they want us to throw this law out in its entirety.
As members of the U.S. Congress, we are dedicated to the full repeal of this government takeover of healthcare
and we ask you to join us to oppose its implementation.
Most importantly, we encourage you to oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under
the President’s discredited health care law.
These expensive, Complex, and intrusive exchanges impose a threat to the financial stability of our already-
fragile state economies with no certainty of a limit to total enrollment numbers. Resisting the implementation
of exchanges is good for hiring and investment. The law’s employer mandate assesses penalties - up to $3,000
per employee - only to businesses who don’t satisfy federally-approved health insurance standards and whose
employees receive “premium assistance” through the exchanges. The clear language of the statute only
permits federal premium assistance to citizens of states who create a state-based exchange. However, the IRS
recently finalized a regulation that contradicts the law by allowing the federal government to provide premium
assistance to citizens in those states that have not created exchanges. The IRS had no authority to finalize Such
a regulation. By refusing to create an exchange, you will assist us in Congress to repeal this violation
which will help lower the costs of doing business in your state, relative to other states that keep these
financially draining exchanges in place.
State-run exchanges are subject to all of the same coverage mandates and rules as the federally-run exchange.
Clearing the hurdles of crafting an exchange that complies with the 600 plus pages of federal exchange
regulations will only result in wasted state resources and higher premiums for your constituents.
Implementation of this law is inevitable and considering more than half of the American people
oppose the law, it is improbable. Join us in resisting a Centralized government approach to health care
reform and instead focus on solutions that make health care more affordable and accessible for every
American. Let’s work to create a health care system of, for, and by the people, not government or special
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