Here is a sneak preview of Friday's editorial on health care — and a letter co-signed by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, urging governors to oppose creating health exchanges.
UPDATED, 3:11 p.m., to suggest a Republican Senate could repeal the law with 51 votes, not 60.
Raul Labrador attached his name to a piece of political fool’s gold last week.
The 1st Congressional District freshman urged the nation’s governors to just hold out and refuse to create state-run health insurance exchanges — online marketplaces designed to help businesses and individuals shop for insurance. In so doing, supposedly, they’d help Congress repeal the federal health care law.
Here’s a sample from the letter, co-signed by Labrador and 73 congressional colleagues, and sent to the National Governors Association: “Implementation of this law is not inevitable and considering more than half of the American people oppose the law, it is improbable.”
Who are these folks kidding? Governors surely know, or should know, that repeal is a political longshot. Even if Republican Mitt Romney defeats President Barack Obama in November and the GOP keeps the House, its prospects in the Senate are open to debate. The odds of Republicans getting the 60 votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster are slim at best, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the tax functions of the law are not subject to filibuster, and could be repealed with 51 votes.
This letter, signed by Labrador but by no one else in Idaho’s all-GOP congressional delegation, isn’t just civics-challenged. There is also something arrogant about a letter telling 50 governors how they should handle health care issues. Especially when
Romney, the GOP’s standard bearer, says he favors allowing states to craft solutions.
But that isn’t good enough for Labrador and the most fervently pro-repeal members of Congress, a group that includes Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
These critics call exchanges “expensive, complex and intrusive.” Without substantiating their claim, they say resisting exchanges would be “good for hiring and investment.” That may come as a surprise to Idaho business groups that tried to convince the 2012 Legislature to create an exchange: groups like the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry.
And what would Labrador and his group say to those struggling to find coverage, including nearly 300,000 insured Idahoans? Nothing. Their letter — packed with poor advice to governors — offered neither alternatives nor hope to the uninsured.