State insurance plan best for Idaho
As a physician, I feel it's critical for Idaho to support Gov. Otter's recommendation to create a state-based health insurance exchange.
Idahoans have two choices: a state-based exchange that we design to fit Idaho's unique needs, or a federal exchange that will be "one-size-fits-all."
In my practice, I communicate with our local insurance companies frequently to make sure my patients get the highest quality care. Under a federal exchange, anytime my patient is denied payment for a medication, X-ray or lab test, my only option will be to call a federal "1-800 number" and talk to a stranger (if I get to talk to a human at all).
In addition, a state-based exchange will keep our insurance rates low. Idaho's medical costs are lower than much of the U.S., but if we have a federal exchange, our costs will go up as they will include states that have higher costs.
A federal exchange will take away local control and increase the prices we pay in premiums.
The time is now to let your legislators know that you want them to support the state-based exchange. Sign the governor's petition to support an Idaho exchange at gov.idaho.gov/petition.cfm.
MARY BARINAGA, M.D., Boise
Facts are missing
State Sen. Jim Rice says that the "sea" surrounding the debate over a state-run health insurance exchange includes information that is factual and some false.
In the case of the alternative, federally operated exchange, however, there are few, if any, facts. For this reason Mr. Rice cannot claim that "a federal exchange is more costly to each Idahoan than the state-based exchange proposed by the governor." The only way this could be a fact is if the law says so.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does not stipulate the exact costs states will incur if they choose not to run an online marketplace for the purchase of individual health insurance policies.
The law does indicate how individual purchases will be subsidized, but there is no way to know the total impact on Idaho's state budget. The federal government has guidelines for establishment of these exchanges but cannot forecast the costs of operations.
Mr. Rice and other supporters of the state-run option should simply ask why the majority of states have opted to default to a federal exchange. Do the governors and legislators of all these states not know the "facts?"
PETER R. CRABB, Ph.D., Nampa
Support Otter's call for state plan
Our legislators need feedback to support Gov. Otter and vote in favor of creating a state-based health insurance exchange. There are many reasons for Idaho to design a state-based exchange rather than allowing the federal exchange to be established in Idaho.
Health insurance exchanges are online supermarkets that make health insurance options clearer and more competitive for individuals and small businesses. If you have private, employer-provided insurance, Medicare or Medicaid you would not be required to change anything. A health insurance exchange lays out health insurance options for clear and simple, side-by-side comparisons, explaining plans in terms of benefits and costs. It will make selecting the right health insurance similar to shopping for other items on Amazon, Expedia or any online shopping comparison site.
This makes shopping for insurance much easier. It keeps our insurance rates as low as possible. It keeps Idaho in control of health insurance for Idahoans. Please let your legislators know that you want them to support the state-based exchange. You can sign the governor's petition to support an Idaho exchange at gov.idaho.gov/petition.cfm. For more information, go to keepitinidaho.com.
SCOTT DUNN, M.D., Idaho Academy of Family Physicians, Sandpoint
Senator falls short on explanations
Poor Mike Crapo. Those darn job pressures kept building and building, and the next thing he knew, he was handcuffed in the back of a patrol car headed for the slammer. Maybe we'll get to see him on an episode of "Cops."
He still has his job, but no driver's license. If those job pressures persist, he can always pop bubble wrap while he walks to work.
Wait a minute! Job pressures? What job pressures? Congress doesn't do anything.
His apology sounded a lot like John McGee's. The GOP must have a prepared apology speech for its wayward, alcoholic members. Maybe they should have better mug shots available, you know, just in case.
In Virginia, drunken driving is a felony and all inmates wear orange coveralls, including intoxicated senators.
In Idaho, arrested Republican politicians get off with a reduced charge and a slap on the wrist. Then it's back to the Legislature for more pretend lawmaking.
Who's next? The possibilities are endless. We should get a pool going.
Bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do?
KEN WHITE, Twin Falls
Efforts will help big banks
As the new senior Republican on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Crapo's first major action: defy the law. Crapo wants the powers of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reduced. Until that happens, he'll oppose the president's nominee to head the agency. Such legislative extortion is unprecedented even in Washington.
Why does Crapo want the CFPB powers diluted? Because big banks apparently don't like an agency reducing their chance to gouge consumers with "unfair, deceptive and abusive" practices, which Congress mandated the CFPB to contest.
The public supports the CFPB, according to polls. That goes for small business as well. A poll of small-business owners released Jan. 29 found that 84 percent support the new agency.
The financial crisis hit Idaho hard - ranking eighth in the nation in foreclosure filings in 2010 (according to the state attorney general).
Another 12,500 mortgage borrowers suffered from "loan servicing errors." "Statistics," according to the attorney general's report, "fail to chronicle the financial and emotional toll that this crisis has had on Idaho's homeowners."
Idaho doesn't want Mr. Crapo blocking for big California and East Coast banks, at the expense of Idahoans.
CAL OSBORN SR., Boise
'Invasion' is a more accurate term
Let's get the terminology correct. It's not "illegal immigration!" It is an invasion! When massive amounts of people (12 to 20 million) enter into my country without coming through the gate or the golden door with permission, it's not a flash mob at a Walmart. It is as much an invasion as the Germans invading Poland or France in World War II. Whether it happens over the course of two days or two decades, it is an invasion!
If our selected representatives are upholding their oath of office, how are our federal and state governments supposed to handle it? Read Article 1, sections 8 and 10, also, Article 4, Section 4 of our U. S. Constitution on repelling invasions. Our selected representatives are very fast at sending and spending American lives and treasure overseas to stop or reverse invasions in Europe, Asia, Korea, Vietnam and Kuwait but are noticeably silent when our country is being invaded.
In fact our Idaho state representatives even helped facilitate the invasion of our state by quietly allowing a foreign consulate to be established in our area. For what? Wealthy foreign tourists who have lost their papers or facilitating the invaders? Think! Invasions are not always military.
DAVID SMITH, Boise
Let voices be heard
The Boise County commissioners are planning on having the BLM close the SkinnyDipper hot springs located on the Bank/Lowman Road at milepost 4.
If you enjoy soaking there, please contact them and Commissioner Jamie Anderson in particular. This was published in Idaho World newspaper Feb. 6 in the commissioners' meeting minutes. Speak up or another of our public natural resources will be shut down or destroyed.
JAY RAIS, Garden Valley
Profit carries cost
A private prison is in the business to make money. It does ... at the expense of the prisoners and the guards.
BETTY LUGINBILL, Garden City