Foes of Otter-backed Idaho health exchange to protest on Capitol steps Thursday

UPDATED, 3:15 p.m. with comment from Idaho Liberty Caucus Secretary Jason Robinson.

Sixteen hours after Gov. Butch Otter said a state-run insurance exchange was the best option for Idaho, opponents announced they will rally in protest at 12:30 p.m. Thursday on the Capitol steps.

Notice of the half-hour rally was sent at 8 a.m. this morning by Gem State Tea Party. The sponsor is the Republican Liberty Caucus of Idaho, whose vice chairman is former Idaho Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. The electronic flyer simply says the topic will be the health exchange. No details were provided about speakers. Hart and Region 4 Director Ryan Davidson did not immediately respond to my emails seeking more information.

Otter announced his decision to support the exchange at 4 p.m. Tuesday in a written statement. He said the Legislature needs to sign off on the plan and met with GOP legislative leaders shortly before the announcement.

Otter is on his annual trip to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, so he'll miss the protest.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little said he'll also miss the rally. "I don't know that I've been invited," Little said, adding that he has a prior commitment to speak to the Idaho Bankers Association in Boise.

Little said he's not surprised by the protest or its timing and expects opponents to lobby lawmakers to reject the exchange.

Little backs Otter's decision. "We don't like a lot of things the federal government is doing, but you can participate and if it looks like there isn't going to be a lick of difference between (a state-run and federal-run exchange), you can pull out," Little said.

Agreeing to work on a state exchange preserves Idaho's options, Little said. "We lost at the Supreme Court. We lost at the ballot box. We're trying to make lemonade out of lemons. If we don't try, we're going to get a tart-tasting lemon."

Jason Robinson's comments suggest that Otter advanced his announcement to get ahead of Thursday's rally. Perhaps, though I find it more plausible that Otter, who left early Wednesday on his pilgrimage to NFR, was more driven by his schedule. Otter is back Sunday. Here's Robinson:

I am the Secretary of the RLCID, Idaho's charter of the (Republican Liberty Caucus), a recognized caucus of the Republican Party. I am organizing this rally in conjunction with several local groups that focus on fiscal and federal restraint.

Regarding the timing of the announcements, I applied for the permit last Friday with the Capital Mall services, and that application is public record. Our public announcement of the rally came Monday when I sent the results of our Board's vote to hold the rally to our members, and early Tuesday morning a parallel announcement was sent out to Tea Party Boise members and they had a member talk with one of the local AM radio stations about the rally and opposition to the creation of an Idaho health care exchange.

This was hours before Gov. Otter made his hasty announcement. All previous announcements from the Governor's office indicate that he planned to make his announcement on Friday, but we believe he was spurred into action as a result of our rally announcements.

Secondly, this is a rally, not a protest. We work from inside the Republican Party and are lobbying the Governor AND the Legislature to stick to their promises made many times over the last few years to oppose the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Many in the legislature hold the same views we do on this issue, and so we are rallying to remind them of their promises made previously and their obligation to hold Idaho's interests above their personal or national political interests.

Regarding having not sent out invitations to elected members like the LT. Governor, those invitations will be sent out shortly, after I have drafted an official press release and had time to confirm the speaker lineup. We in the RLC are not paid lobbyists or political sharks, so these events take time out of our day to setup.

All members of the public and media are invited to attend and let our actions and words speak louder than any preconceived notions they may have or the taunts and immature insults of those on the Statesman's "Voices" website that oppose us and our message of fiscal and political restraint in the service of greater liberty for all.

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That's a whole bunch of anti-gubmint stupid in one place. I would imagine the amount of $$$ these teabillies owe would probably exceed $20,000,000.


Oh you communist lemmings are so witty! Glad the fed gov still lets you do that much thinking for yourselves. Better check your party's wealth before you start throwing rocks at the other side.

Oh no, you are mistaken...

Surely there are no wealthy liberals! Rush says that liberals hate success and money and ambition ... lol

You are CORRECT! I got all my nice crap 4 pennies on the dollar!


Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

Tea Party Loons

Tea Party and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Idaho are a bunch of loons and the Vice President of Rep Liberty Caucus, Phil Hart is their king (or prince). Really fitting if you ask me.

Bottom line, if we don't do this we will lose jobs. Don't be an ideological idiot like the Tea Party and Rep Liberty Caucus. Let's move forward and save jobs.

Idaho's ideological fight has already cost us millions of dollars.

Strangely enough, our Vice

Strangely enough, our Vice Chair has been very busy and has had barely any time to attend any meetings, so as to Phil Hart being our King, that is not even remotely possible.


Brad Little, the voice of reason. Who'd a thunk it. "We lost at the Supreme Court. We lost at the ballot box."
Sounds like somebody was actually paying attention.

Loved the Teabilly take Farva.

As long as the theoretical

As long as the theoretical fantasy-land ideology is on the capitol house steps, and actual practical decisions are being made in the governor's office, we're doing OK.

Tea Party strikes again!

I was pleasantly surprised Otter did the right thing to set up the State run Health Exchange! I would prefer State run versus Fed run program. Of course, the Tea Party and their infant wisdom are opposed to anything which is good for the people. Do they really want a Fed run system? Do they think if we put our heads in the sand The Affordable Healthcare Act will just disappear?!!

Otter may have done the right thing

but I expect the Legislature to torpedo it.


Exactly....Agreed slfisher

Do you expect a Federally

Do you expect a Federally mandated and tightly controlled state implemented exchange to be any more favorable to Idaho than a Federally mandated and tightly controlled but federally administered exchange?

No more than a girlfriend vs. a bad one. Que?


Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

Later, when we have a federal exchange

these are the same people that will be complaining about the federal exchange and lack of local control. How a group of "conservatives" can think it is better to have a federal exchange with no input at the local level is beyond me. The people have gone so far right they have ended up on the left....supporting a federal insurance exchange that will make it easier to move to a single payer system later. Good work.


Don't the Teabillies know that if the state doesn't do this, the fed will?

Is this the same Governor

that signed executive order 2011-03, which stated that “No executive branch department, agency, institution or employee of the State shall provide assistance or resources of any kind to any agency, public official, employee or agent of the federal government to implement or enforce the PPACA”?

Wow. A flip flop of epic proportions.

You no like flippy floppy?

Reality is a female dog sometimes. Besides, Butch is of the party that tried to put the king of flip flop in the White House. The repuglicans are consistent if nothing else.

thank you

I knew there was something like that but I thought it was legislation and I couldn't find it.

that would be

Going to the Rally

The reason Idaho needs to say no to the exchanges is because the Idaho Constitution mandates that we have a balanced budget. The exchanges are the Feds way of passing the unfunded costs of Obamacare on to the states. We still do not know what mandates and associated costs will come as part of this Federally run atrocity.

So, you prefer the federal exchange?

How does the exchange shift the cost to the state exactly? As I understand it, the exchange has to be self sufficient once it's set up. Users and insurers will be paying the cost. It they use the private, non-profit model, how will that end up in the state budget?

No Money, No Obamacare

The only way that states can push back the heavy hand of the federal government in Obamacare is to not fund it. The federal government is not going to fund it, they have passed the costs onto the states. We are not protesting a state run exchange in favor of a federally run exchange. We are rallying for Idaho to stand up with many other states to not fund them.

Look up insurance provider subsidies which is why insurance companies support the exchanges (and is why their stocks rose upon the passage of Obamacare).


the Federal government is funding the first few years of Medicaid expansion, for example.

Balanced Budget

The problem will be that the only way to pay for the state exchange is to tax people more or to take money from other services. Either way, Idahoans will be worse off.



Idaho constitution

The Idaho constitution also says something about providing adequate funds for education. If you are hoping the constitution will save you don't hold your breath.

Hart is the leader? Are you kidding?

We are supposed to listen to a thief who refuses to pay his taxes and lost the election? Seriously? This is their leadership?

when the sheriff of

when the sheriff of Nottingham gets to decide how much you have to pay in taxes, and then the sheriff decides that you didn't pay your taxes, is that you being a tax cheat, or the sheriff arbitrarily jacking up your taxes and then claiming you didn't pay them?


We live in a nation of laws, not a fairy tale. Phil Hart is a convicted tax cheat and a thief.

Except the reason he was

Except the reason he was called a cheat is because the IRS ripped every single business expense deduction out of his business, which raised taxable income, and then they declared that he now owed more taxes.

Go talk to any business and ask them what their difference is between net & gross income. That is non-trivial amount.

Even if he had a case, he exploited his elected office to dodge

the law. Sorry, I cannot respect a man who repeatedly tried to use his office for this purpose. Many businesses manage to function without ending up like Hart. And those who do end up like Hart don't get to use their elected office to dodge the courts.

Star, you need to take note

Star, you need to take note when the Executive Order was issued and what has transpired since that time. One might even say the Governor has been enlightened by research and discussion and consensus via the task force he created for such research.

There is no flip-flop just an awakening.

No, it is flip flopping

and possibly a violation of Idaho law, the Idaho Health Care Freedom Act.

Don't bother them with pesky

Don't bother them with pesky details.

The Act was passed in 2010;

The Act was passed in 2010; the executive order in 2011 and 2012 the Guv issues another order re state fund. That is enlightenment and the hand writing on the wall. Its called reality and seeing the error of one's ways.

The Act

can only be repealed by the legislature.



Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

This rally was previously scheduled

The remnant of the Idaho based Tea Parties are trying to see if they can light the fires again. This rally was announced last week but now as they see a new lighting rod issue. Calling on Phil Hart, one of the most un-respected, if not disrespected, Idaho citizens, is a good indicator of the Teabillies' brain power. Expect most them the be "packing" too.

You must know something I

You must know something I don't. Is Phil speaking? I'm checking my speakers list and don't see him there.....

Rally on Thursday

With all due respect, the Tea Parties around the state are trying to stop an exchange because it will impose new taxes and costs on the people of Idaho.

They're trying to help working poor and those who will see higher insurance premiums, given three companies dominate Idaho's health insurance market.

Thank you,


With all due respect

Insurance premium are going up for sure but the primary reason is medical care costs are going up as more and more of the boomer generation retires, gets sick, and dies. Also new procedures, drugs, equipment cost more. And don't forget the large bonuses the publicly owned hospitals and drug companies pay their executives who are pampered with a fleet of corporate jets.

Blaming Obamacare is just not right. In fact Obamacare, if all other cost factors remained static, woiuld reduce insurance costs because 38 million more will be paying (some with government subsidies) into the insurance pool.

BRR....I have ocean front property for sale in


bring the beach ball and tanning lotion....

I'll bring the scrawny trunks so you will all run and the...

joint is MINE!


Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

RE: Response to "With All Due Respect"

Dear BRR:

I never blamed the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., Obamacare) for "everything" related to high medical costs. You're the only one saying that.

One problem in Idaho is the fact that we have three insurance companies with a market share of more than 70%. That is too concentrated a market. This tends to push prices up. If Idahoans could buy across state lines, then people would drop their existing policies for cheaper ones and all prices would come down. That's how markets work.

Why are you in favor of a law that imposes new requirements on insurance companies. This means new costs that can only be absorbed by large players, preventing new players from entering the market. This all leads to less competition ==> Higher Prices. Do you think people should pay more for health insurance? Don't you want lower premiums for people?


“Baby Steps to Ethics Boys”Hart Denney, Nonini, Moyle, Semanko

Good work Governor Otter. “Baby Steps to Ethics Boys” Denney, Nonini, Moyle, Semanko, Labrador, Hart, and their ilk are unfit to lead. They damaged both our Party and Idaho Citizens. Sounds like Mr. Rusche (D) and Mr. Bedke (R) will work together to create a “best-for-Idaho” solution.

Do the Sunshine Laws not apply to organizations like the Idaho Freedom Foundation which may also promote the rally with the Republican Liberty Caucus of Idaho? Idahoans are concerned about powerful lobbyist influencing Idaho Legislators. Something important to all conservatives since stung so badly by the conservative lobbyists below.

Abramoff: "Fire up the jet baby, we're going to El Paso!!" Mike Scanlon: "I want all their MONEY!!!" Email interchange between Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, February 6, 2002

Why on earth would sunshine

Why on earth would sunshine laws apply to private groups? Can you file a petition to force access to the minutes of a meeting of a private charity? Or of a political watchdog? Or of Greenpeace? No. They are private entities.


Hey you! Yeah you. The one over there with the "facts" and "accurate analysis of the situation" and the "rational thinking" Yeah. YOU!

Sit down and hush. We don't need any of that New York/California Liberalness you're blathering! Out here in the west we like making up our demagoguery and talking points. We don't need none of your high faluten "facts"!

I apologize for attempting

I apologize for attempting to enlighten anyone. I will promptly burn a few books as penance for that grievous intellectual error.

Melissa is calling...go see what she wants.


Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

Sunshine laws apply to all lobbying groups

The Freedom Foundation is a registered lobbying group. However, Sunshine laws don't apply to meetings of the organizations.

RE: Response

Are you a registered private driver? Then, I want the ability to search in your car and every backpack, purse, wallet, and package in that car.

Does your organization write about corruption in government? Then, I want the ability to search your files for what information you collect. I also want all drafts of writings you're doing.

The IFF is a private organization. Under the 1st Amendment, freedom of association means you don't have to reveal to whom you associate, but also what conversations, writings, dealings, etc. you have. That is just one avenue of protection the Constitution affords private organizations.




when an organization is attempting to influence legislation, as IFF is doing, then the people are entitled to know who's pulling the strings.