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.