Idaho politics: Saying no to a health exchange an act of 'patriotism,' says Hoffman

In our lead Friday editorial, we took 1st Congressional District Rep. Raul Labrador to task for urging governors to resist creating a state-run health insurance exchange — an online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop for coverage.

By way of counterpoint, here's this week's column from Wayne Hoffman, head of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative lobbying group adamantly opposed to the exchanges.

Hoffman's take: Saying no to the exchanges is a meaningful act of "patriotism and defiance."

"For the protection of Idaho’s citizens and businesses, the state should continue to resist the president’s punitive and ill-conceived health care law," writes Hoffman.

Here's the Hoffman column, in full:

Throughout history, great acts of patriotism have been performed simply by ignoring or doing everything to subvert an unjust law.

• The Boston Tea Party is a great example, where the patriots of the time resisted the British government’s Tea Act and its associated taxes, and performed the illegal act of dumping taxed tea into Boston Harbor in 1773.

• How about the decision of Wisconsin’s government in 1854 to resist the Fugitive Slave Act, requiring people in free states to capture runaway slaves and return them to their masters?

• Or in 2005, when the states collectively refused to implement a federal law requiring Americans to carry a national ID card?

All of those actions have one thing in common: American citizens and policymakers did everything they could to preserve the principles of freedom in the face of an overreaching national government.

Today, some leaders in our states have elected to perform an act that is actually perfectly legal: They’re refusing to implement a state health insurance exchange. The federal health care law, now upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, allows states to choose whether to establish a health insurance exchange or not. If the states choose to not set up an exchange, the federal government will set up its own.

But here’s the kicker: Because of a mistake in the Obamacare law, health insurance subsidies and entitlements can only be given out through the state exchange, not the federal exchange. States, therefore, have the ability to block a major expansion of federal entitlement programs simply by saying no to a state health insurance exchange.

There’s more: Under Obamacare, businesses with 50 or more employees may be taxed up to $3,000 per employee for failure to provide health insurance benefits to employees. That tax can only be triggered if employees use a state insurance exchange to receive federal tax credits and subsidies to buy a health plan.

The Internal Revenue Service has written rules pretending that the law makes no distinction between federal and state insurance exchanges when it comes to the tax or the subsidies. But the law is very plain: No state health insurance exchange, no tax, no entitlement.

Governors in several states have figured this out. Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rick Perry of Texas, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Rick Scott of Florida, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin are all indicating that they will not proceed forward with a health insurance exchange.

Haley “already made the decision not to implement an exchange,” spokesman Rob Godfrey said, according to an article in Politico. The same article says Perry “has absolutely no interest in accelerating the implementation of Obamacare,” according to spokeswoman Catherine Frazier.

Recently, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. Michele Bachman co-authored a letter urging all governors to resist the law. “Implementation of this law is not inevitable,” they wrote. Their letter was signed by more than 70 members of Congress, including Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador.

As I have written previously, a state health insurance exchange will do nothing to help the American health care system. Moreover, it will likely make it more expensive and assist the federal government in penalizing businesses for not providing insurance to their employees.

It is a small act of patriotism and defiance but a meaningful one: For the protection of Idaho’s citizens and businesses, the state should continue to resist the president’s punitive and ill-conceived health care law.

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1341607299 Idaho politics: Saying no to a health exchange an act of 'patriotism,' says Hoffman Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wow. Just when it couldn't get more idiotic ....

Here comes Hoffman.

Full of himself

Hey Wayne how about you enlisting in the military instead of running a phony education/lobbying group. As long as you keep your donor list secret you have zero credibility.

"It is a small act of patriotism..."

Right, Wayne, and small of you to ignore the needs of many. Who pays for the medical emergency needs of the uninsured now? You think Al and Luke are Saints that do this out of charity? Not true. You pay it, Wayne. Let's increase the pool of those who cover the costs of all, just as we now pay our share to cover the costs of enforcing those ridiculous federal laws disallowing child labor, or sex trafficking, or water/air pollution.

Gotta love KR's.....

Hoffman fetish - it just keeps on growing and growing and .....

Kinda like your KR fetish

Or maybe it is just a fetish where you can't stand when the idiocy of the right is exposed.

Hoffman fetish?

You mean the way they continue to give him free press to promote his lobby group? I think you're right. I, for one, am tired of hearing about Hoffman's every comment on political and policy issues.


Hoffman's so called non-partisan drivel isn't worth the time that the Statesman loves to dedicate for it.

I wonder

how much traffic the Statesman has kept from Hoffman's website since publishing their own public employee salary database? At least the Statesman doesn't require you to register with their site to look at this public information.

You are all so wrong

tetpilot, becourteous, go4it and all you other naysayers. A prime example is when go4it says "Hoffman's so called non-partisan drivel isn't worth the time that the Statesman loves to dedicate for it" is just so wrong. Should the Statesman just ignore Hoffman and let his vile ideas fester in the darkness that is controlling the republican party today or should they bring it out into the sunshine?

No, they shouldn't ignore him

However, they shouldn't give him constant exposure. There are myriad advocacy organizations in this state that don't get this type of coverage for their special interests. What makes IFF so special?

Is it prudent to spend state taxpayer funds on implementation?

If the ACA is struck down by a Romney election will you get your taxpayer money back?

Hey Slippy, kinda like the way

the Courts struck down Obomney Care?

Romney can't strike down ACA

Romney can't strike down ACA on his own, would take Congress too and most likely 60 Republican votes in the Senate which is not going to happen.

sure he can.

Since the court identified the mandate as a tax, the bill could be voted on as a budget matter through reconciliation, requiring 51 votes in the Senate.

Also, he could use an executive order.

If Romney wins and the R's take the Senate the bill is overturned.

Insurance Exchanges Are Good Public Policy

An insurance exchange allows small groups and individuals to leverage their numbers by banding together to negotiate better benefits for lower insurance premiums. How can anyone be against that?

They can't oppose it on technical grounds. Hoffman's motive, like that of Raul Labrador and Butch Otter is to prevent a Democratic Party from getting the credit for passing this long-awaited law with no GOP support whatsoever. To see Hoffman spin his proposal to resist implementation as an act of patriotism similar to the Boston Tea Party is just sickening.

I watched the 1957 movie "A Face in the Crowd" last night. How appropriate it seemed in these times of political demagoguery.

That movie

was way ahead of its time.

Blah, Blah, Blah

What do those so-called "acts of patriotism" have to do with the problems Americans are facing today? As usual, Hoffman is full of hot air and has nothing useful to contribute to this discussion!

If the prior administration

had implemented this very same plan Hoffman and his ilk would have been all for it, no doubt about that at all.

Wayne -

Do you have health insurance? I do, my portion is about $125 per week. I figure about $25 of that goes to pay the cost for those that don't pay their medical bills.

If you do have insurance, do you pay it out of your own pocket (or at least a portion), or does the Freedom Foundation pay it for you? By the way - did you ever publish your own salary (like you did of all public employees) or was it just left to others to find it in the form 990.

Before commenting on the supposed right or wrong of this bill, at least let the rest of us know if you have taken the steps to make sure your medical bills are paid, or if you are putting the 80% of us that have insurance at risk of paying to save your life someday.

Did you get any legal opinions from qualified sources before claiming the IRS was wrong in its rules? Or are you using Phil Hart's attorney? While mistakes are sometimes made, the IRS gets legal opinions from highly qualified attorneys before issuing regulations.

Oh - and by the way - the patriots at the tea party were risking prison sentences and possibly their own lives in performing that act against real taxation without representation. No one here is risking prison or their life by expressing an opinion, so don't dishonor the true tea partiers' risk by claiming an action is similar to theirs.

A troubling trend...

Last week I watched a report on healthcare which claimed 26% of every dollar is spent on administration of our healthcare system. The majority of this money the insurance companies are spending to employee auditors to eliminate fraudulent claims and make sure they were only paying what they need to pay.

Personally, I think the money being spent to audit claims is wasteful and inefficient. Wouldn't it be more efficient to have a healthcare system whereas everybody is eligible to have access to healthcare? My point is that we wouldn't have to hire auditors to seek-out and deny coverage.

For example, in Canada everybody is eligible for healthcare so there are no auditors. This results in 8% of that Country's healthcare costs are associated with administration of the healthcare system. I think that's a significant cost savings.

I realize that our Country values the benefits of small government and privatized enterprizes. However, I also think there is evidence that suggests the Government can provide healthcare more efficiently than the private sector. For example, in most European Countries the average cost per person for healthcare is around $4,400 per person while in the USA it's almost $8,500 per person per year.

Meanwhile, healthcare in the USA is more expensive than any other place in the World and in the industrialized country's the USA has the largest percent of it's population without access to healthcare. The USA ranks 30th in life expectancy and 29th in live birth deaths. To me these trends are troubling.


Kind of like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Compromising pictures

Richert what does Hoffmann have on you that you keep giving him all this coverage? He's nothing more than a lobbyist yet you treat him like some political sage. Cut your ties with him from the old days and treat him for what he really is.

Is Kevin Richert now Wayne

Is Kevin Richert now Wayne Hoffman's spokesperson? It almost impossible to get a reader's view piece published in the Statesman, yet Richert publishes everything Wayne Hoffman throws his way.

What does Wayne know about the Bill of Rights?

Why is it that the IFF only cares about certain amendments? If the IFF was truly non-partisan they would be defending Occupy Boise right to freely assemble. Come on Wayne... Don't speak about small government but allow the "We" in "We the people" to be silenced.

I spent 23 years defending these rights in the U.S. military. It would be nice if Wayne took a more holestic view of our freedoms.

Only thing worse than blind

Only thing worse than blind fake patriotism subversive radical conservative funded fake think tank lobbyist telling Idahoans about democracy and patriotism, is an editorial journalist with a huge media platform who consistently lacks of context or the facts.

Then that journalist provides one specific extremist conservative lobbyist unlimited access to the McClatchy newspaper’s editorial page to legitimize and promote a specific radical anti-government conservative political agenda.

Registered conservative lobbyist Hoffman and his clearly anti-government Idaho freedom foundation promote a fake authoritarian American patriotism founded in his phony opinion based facts to implant conservative misinformation in the Idaho media and cloud the facts of reality and demonize political opposition.

Hoffman abuses the American tax system to hide his conservative political financial support and social agenda from everyday hardworking Idahoans.

Why is it important for Hoffman need to hide his funding sources from Idahoans?

Richert, you show signs of leaning toward your sources ideological view point.……..please…..maintain your independence, by not allowing your conservative sources in Idaho's one party system of governance use your personal integrity as a media tool to add credibility to their extremist political agenda or their manufactured fake opinion based propaganda news as fact.

Beware Hoffman uses you to falsely portray his anti-government view as mainstream and you allow it.