Tea Party Boise says its not too late to stop Gov. Otter's proposal to implement a state-run health insurance exchange under President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
The group is rallying Monday at 1 p.m. at the Capitol and using its January newsletter to promote the event.
"We are disappointed by the governor's willingness to move forward," say Stephen Ackerman and his co-author Bob Neugebauer. "We don't claim his decision was easy, but we do believe more could have been done with other governors to put pressure on Congress and the President over this issue. There are more than 20 states that said they would not move forward with an exchange. Some, like Louisiana, came here and told us why.
"We believe passing this decision to the legislature, while being critical of it is not leadership; it is the absence of leadership It is time to make our voices known to our legislators and our governor about this decision. We have lost a battle, but we can still win the war and stop this legislation from passing."
As of this morning, the newsletter was not yet loaded on the Tea Party Boise website. So, here's the pitch for the rally and the article by Ackerman and Neugebauer.
STATE HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE:
Don’t Fund the Problem; Fund a Solution
Please come to our rally to protest the creation of a state health insurance exchange
Where? On the steps of our state capital When? At 1:00PM on January 21st
Let your representatives know you don’t want them to waste some $77 million of your tax dollars on an open-ended program
REMEMBER THESE WORDS?
“No executive branch department, agency, institution or employee or 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 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
That was the governor’s executive order when he signed the Idaho Health Insurance Freedom Act in 2010. That act says the citizens of Idaho will not subject themselves to another federal mandate or turn over another part of their life to government control.
WHAT HAPPENED GOVERNOR OTTER?
DON’T FUND THE PROBLEM; FUND A SOLUTION
Governor Otter announced Idaho will move forward with creating a state health exchange. This is disappointing. It will require an estimated $77 million to create the exchange and another $10 million per year to run it. This money will either be taken out of the pockets of your fellow Idahoans or will be denied to other government services. Either way, we will all be poorer, and for what? To put a "Made in Idaho" label on something that was designed by the federal government, conforms to new federal rules, and introduces new federal taxes does not appear to be an “Idaho solution.”
We are disappointed by the governor's willingness to move forward. We don't claim his decision was easy, but we do believe more could have been done with other governors to put pressure on Congress and the President over this issue. There are more than 20 states that said they would not move forward with an exchange. Some, like Louisiana, came here and told us why.
We believe passing this decision to the legislature, while being critical of it is not leadership; it is the absence of leadership. It is time to make our voices known to our legislators and our governor about this decision. We have lost a battle, but we can still win the war and stop this legislation from passing.
Steps we need to Take to Stop the State Health Exchange
The governor's statement said two things that are critical for us: One, that "Idaho is opting for a state
based health exchange" ... "subject to legislative approval"; and Two, that "my decision today can be
rescinded if the legislature disagrees or withdrawn by me if circumstances warrant."
1) Call the legislature to either pass a law or otherwise ensure no money goes toward a health exchange. There are some 36 new legislators that were elected to office this year and we need to Call, Write and E-Mail, encouraging them to vote no for funding and the set up of a state healthcare exchange in Idaho.
2) Try to find areas where the Affordable Care Act conflicts with Idaho law and that is backed by Supreme Court decisions in favor of the state. Idaho's healthcare insurance market is dominated by a few companies. In fact, three companies control nearly 80% of the health insurance market. This results in less competition, fewer choices, and higher prices.
3) Get the legislature to open up this market to more competition. Overturn any law that prevents Idahoans from buying across state lines.
Why would we want to continue to FUND THE PROBLEM? The $77 million spent on setting up the new State Healthcare Exchange is not going to solve our healthcare problem. In other words, the money for an exchange will not go to treat one sick or injured person in Idaho. Further, there is no serious evidence it will reduce healthcare premiums on individuals or businesses.
What it is going to do is to continue to limit choices for healthcare, open the door to new federal taxes, and create an entirely new program that will be subject to federal rules. Instead of funding a process, why not fund a solution?
DON’T FUND THE PROBLEM; FUND A SOLUTION
Some Questions and Suggested Solutions to Consider:
Does it make sense to spend money on a program that will not make one person healthier?
Whether you are conservative, liberal, or independent, why spend $77 million on a state health exchange that will not purchase one health insurance policy. The health exchange won’t spend one dollar on healthcare for one child, one employee, one business owner, or one elderly person.
Is it responsible to spend money on something if you don’t know what it will cost down the road? The state health exchange is supposed to be “self-sustaining” by 2015. But, many of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or “Obamacare”) are not clear. This means we don’t know what they’ll cost.
If people can make their own decisions over all these other insurances, how can anyone argue people cannot make the same decisions over their health insurance? The private insurance market offers people the ability to comparison shop for every type of insurance. Whether it is auto, boat, home, life, or motorcycle, people can compare and make decisions on which insurance best suits them. Allow people to buy across state lines, i.e., outside Idaho. This would help expand competition from the three insurance companies that control 70-79% of Idaho’s health insurance market.
Why should anyone advocate violating state law?
The Affordable Care Act allows people to “choose” to set up an exchange or not. In 2010, the state legislature passed and the governor signed the Idaho Health Insurance Freedom Act, maintaining that no “executive branch department, agency, institution, or [state] employee” shall “provide assistance or resources” to any part of the federal government to implement and enforce the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or “Obamacare”).
How can anyone argue that Idaho has actual control?
There is the argument that if Idaho sets up an exchange, it will maintain control over the implementation of healthcare insurance. Yet, the exchange is designed by the federal government, requires services decided by the federal government, and includes federal taxes.
Why not use part of the $77 million to support the CAT Fund?
This would help pay for healthcare for indigenous populations around our state, is run by the counties, and helps us deal with our own people under our own program.
Prepare for Medicaid Expansion?
Set aside a portion of the projected $77 million for the exchange to prepare for the 24,000 to 37,000 additional Medicaid recipients that will come onto Idaho’s rolls.
Written by Stephen Ackerman; with contributions by Bob Neugebauer
Below are two YouTube videos that deal with the Health Insurance Exchange and Medicaid expansion: 1) Health Insurance Exchange: http://youtu.be/3S8YOWcu_Pg
2) Medicaid Expansion: http://youtu.be/ZqMkrkBRzZA
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