Idaho Legislature in danger of becoming Congresscritters

The Idaho Legislature is not Congress. Be thankful for that. But recent outrage over a vote months ago makes it appear some would prefer that Idaho lawmakers behave and think like their Congresscritter cousins. In March, state lawmakers approved a bill creating behavioral health crisis centers, which supporters say will help people with mental health or drug addiction problems rather than subject them to jails and emergency rooms. The Otter administration asked for $4.5 million to get centers started in various parts of Idaho, but the Legislature appropriated a fraction of that amount, setting up a competition for the one
Read More

Issues with Boise State’s speech policies have nothing to do with guns

Since Boise State waited a week after the stated deadline to respond to the letter submitted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation Center for Defense of Liberty, one would think that the response would be thorough and address the concerns raised in that letter. While it is a positive first step that the university has indicated that the security fee will be refunded to Young Americans for Liberty at Boise State University, it is terribly discouraging to read that BSU still clings to the belief that there is nothing wrong with its speech policies. At this point four independent public interest
Read More

Forest fires, an act of nature or the result of poor forest management?

It looks as if the residents of Idaho will have to endure another smoky summer. Most people assume that forest fires are simply another aspect of life in the mountain west, just something we have to endure and combat to survive. As Greg Walcher, former head of the Colorado DNR points out in his book, “Smoking them out, the theft of the environment and how to take it back,” professional forest management, which included thinning, has been replaced with a do-nothing strategy. The result is that timber harvest are down 84 percent nationally and about 90 percent in Idaho from
Read More

‘Skin-in-the-game’ Medicaid expansion did not work in Oregon

The Oregon Medicaid expansion extended to low-income, childless adults that took place in 2001 holds many lessons that Idaho should heed. The idea of a “skin-in-the-game” approach is one of the lessons. Oregon officials chose the route of requiring copayments and premiums from Medicaid expansion enrollees, hoping to maintain costs and fund the expansion. Their “ingenious” plan was a failure. The approach was a factor in the plan’s demise in 2004. Studies have shown that beneficiaries of the Medicaid expansion in Oregon did not receive adequate medical services needed due to a failure of ability to pay the high copayments.
Read More

Don’t read his lips: Your premiums will go up

President Barack Obama famously promised that “your premiums will go down” under Obamacare, but now that the data is in, we know that the opposite is true—your premiums will go up. While the exact amount of the increase varies by state, a Weiss Ratings study found that the average cost of health care insurance per person increased by 5.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014 alone. The increase was even higher at publicly traded insurers with an average rise of 13.4 percent during the same period. Earlier this month the New York Post reported that insurers were seeking approval
Read More