Legislature should not play patsy to the feds
The Legislature should not set up a health exchange, because Washington will run it no matter what.
Over the long and arduous debate about the federal takeover of all medicine in the U.S., the Idaho Statesman has energetically spread falsehoods about the Obamacare exchanges in favor of statist control-freak politicians and corporate welfare babies over the people. While there are disturbingly too many of them to choose from, arguably the biggest whopper of all is the patently ridiculous argument that Idaho will control the exchange if the Legislature sets it up before the federal government.
The most important thing to remember about these coercive exchanges is that because the feds are in part subsidizing them with funds exploited from taxpayers, it doesnt matter what type of system the Legislature sets up. Washington, D.C., will be the sole owner and operator after state politicians have done all the dirty work for them, with corrupt and ruthless bureaucratic mandates forced on us to follow shortly afterword.
The second important thing is that Obamacare is still extremely vulnerable due to both its rabid unpopularity and the unexpected resistance of governors to be the patsies for the federal governments inevitable supply shortages that will cause extreme suffering.
DAVID LOWENTHAL, Boise
More government is not the solution
Health insurance exchanges, federal or state, are a bad idea. State exchanges will be dictated to by the federal government, in all aspects of how the exchange operates. A state exchange is merely the vehicle to implement a national health care plan. Its been stated if Idaho doesnt create an exchange, Idaho insurers lose their jobs. If Idaho does create an exchange, Idaho insurers will lose their jobs. The creation of an exchange accelerates and facilitates the outcome of this occurrence. Government creation, state or federal, does not promote the free market. There are currently private sector websites for comparing insurance policies. Remember, more government, state or federal, is not the solution. It is the problem.
CHUCK CAHOON, Meridian
Expand Medicaid coverage
On Jan. 1, 2014, insurance exchanges will provide a tax credit to families who earn up to four times the poverty level to make the purchase of private health care insurance more affordable. Also, the exchange will guide the working poor earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level to enroll in state Medicaid on the federal dime.
If Republican states like Idaho refuse to implement Medicaid expansion to make a political point, it will not only hurt their least fortunate constituents, it will affect every taxpayer and every American who has health insurance.
Hospitals should be up in arms and pressuring their state politicians, because Medicaid expansion would cover those most likely to use emergency services that cost hospitals tens of billions in unpaid hospital bills. Safety-net hospitals are losing their federal subsidies for treating the destitute. Medical providers pass this indigent cost along to the rest of us.
Businesses employing more than 50 workers and not paying a livable wage will have to insure these otherwise eligible people. In smaller businesses, low-income workers simply fall between the cracks, as they do now. Google the FPL and multiply by 1.33 to see if you could have qualified.
SHERRIE GOFF, Pocatello
A promising approach
Finally there is something from the Statehouse on education reform that I support! I approve of Gov. Butch Otters plan to have a broad and diverse group study education reform. I am a Republican who voted no on Propositions 1, 2 and 3. Did I vote no because I do not support reform? Absolutely not! I voted no because of the process followed. I believe that the measures were developed too quickly without adequate input from all of the stakeholders, especially those with opposing or different ideas. I have had a 40-year career as a business professional and I learned that the best decisions are made when a team with diverse and sometimes opposing ideas works collaboratively.
This is not a new idea. Socrates said, For surely we are not now simply contending in order that my view or that yours may prevail, but I presume that we ought both of us to be fighting for the truth. Rather than a small homogeneous group pressing its ideas on reform through the Legislature, we need a diverse group that will not just advocate its personal views but also work collaboratively to pursue reform that will truly benefit Idaho students.
LARRY BOYD, Eagle
PRISONERS OF WAR
As a veteran, I write to say and ask your readers the following:
In watching our nations news a few days before Christmas, a lady and mother appeared for several days appealing for the release of her son, a veteran, from a prison in Mexico.
That mothers appeal was answered. Her son was home for Christmas.
With that said, I ask why no U.S. or state of Idaho elected official has mentioned one word to gain the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, who has been a captive of Taliban terrorists for more than three years?
So your readers better understand, elected officials, who are elected by the people and elected to represent all the people, has been proven time and time again to be a myth.
That being a myth was proven again when President Obama released a reported 200 terrorists from our military prison in Cuba.
President Obama, the commander in chief of our armed forces, made no reported mention to gain the release of Sergeant Bergdahl from the Taliban.
It is fact, a matter of record, that enemy prisoners released before the war is ended can be found back on the battlefield killing Americans.
RICHARD TEMPLE, Boise
Sam the freeloader
Cal Thomas recent opinion piece about his longtime friend whom he calls Sam surrendering his U.S. citizenship to avoid U.S. taxes gave me considerable heartburn. Sam apparently is an investment banker who has made a fortune as a U.S. citizen, but who now lives in Hong Kong. Sam whines that he has received no benefit for his years of paying U.S. taxes. Really? Look about you, Sam. You didnt benefit from police and fire protection, the worlds leading system for raising and allocating capital (because investors trust a regulated system which assures disclosure and accounting transparency), a military that has kept the bad people at bay (including Maos China with Hong Kong) a huge transportation infrastructure and what still is the worlds best higher education system?
Sam complains that he should be treated as a California resident for public university purposes because he has a second home there, so he can avoid high out-of-state tuition. This wealthy individual wanted California residents to subsidize his kids education! And theres no recognition that tuition has increased as taxpayer support has decreased.
So long Sam, you freeloading cheapskate. Dont let the door bang you on your way out.
ROBERT EDWARD GILBERT, Sun Valley
Seniors deserve answers about increased premiums
What a stinking way to ring in the New Year! When we opened our mail on Dec. 31, receiving my wifes new Medicare Advantage Card from Blue Cross of Idaho, we were informed that the monthly amount will be $93 instead of the $60 we were sold on. This is in addition to the Medicare Part B premiums withheld from her Social Security, also $93. My wife is just beginning Medicare on Jan. 1. That $33 more per month is a 55 percent increase in one fell swoop.
Thanks Blue Cross! Thanks President Obama! There is no question that seniors are getting the shaft. Whats worse is this particular plan covers 33 Idaho counties with 28 of them paying the additional $33 per month with Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem and Owyhee counties paying just an additional $3 per month over the $60 that was originally quoted by Blue Cross to get people to join their Medicare Advantage plan. It appears that the other 28 counties in the plan are subsidizing the Treasure Valley.
Blue Cross, you owe us an explanation, not only why the increase, but why those five counties in the Treasure Valley are paying less.
JOHN SCORESBY, Idaho Falls