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
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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
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‘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.
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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
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Being smart with your smartphone (and your other digital devices)

As the capabilities and capacities of our now ubiquitous smartphones continue to increase, so have the incentives for government agents—of both the local and the national variety—to seek access to their contents. In June, in a rare unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Riley v. California that police may not search the cell phones of suspects without first obtaining a warrant. While this decision is a win for privacy, it does little to curtail the rampant spying and data mining that is being carried out by the NSA and other national and international government entities. There are essentially
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