Idaho need not implement Obamacare

Idaho need not implement Obamacare

by
Wayne Hoffman
December 29, 2011
Wayne Hoffman
Author Image
December 29, 2011

Obamacare has presented Idahoans with the ultimate Hobson’s Choice. Or, so it seems. We are told we can either create a state health insurance exchange ourselves or we can fall under a federal exchange. It’s really no different than being told we have a choice of being shot in the head or shot through the chest. We can either jump off the cliff or be pushed. It’s our choice. Hooray for “state control.”

 

By Wayne Hoffman

I don’t usually like to repeat the words of a newspaper editorial, but the ones from the Times-News on Dec. 21 are hard to pass up. The newspaper wants the state to begin implementing Obamacare by creating a state health insurance exchange.

The newspaper opined that groups like the Idaho Freedom Foundation are being “sadly short-sighted” by opposing the creation of an Idaho health insurance exchange. Said the newspaper,“Rejecting state control of our exchange means the feds will dictate terms.” The newspaper failed to note, however, that the feds will also dictate terms for the state insurance exchange.

I’d encourage the Times-News editorial board to sit down with a copy of the 200 pages of rules for the state exchanges. We did. The federal government’s rules use the word “require” 628 times. The rules contain the word “shall” 22 times, the word “must” 439 times. As with Medicaid, the state must adopt an exchange plan, to be approved by HHS, and every time the state chooses to alter that plan it must seek an audience with our federal masters in Washington, D.C., and beg permission. That means months of writing, waiting, negotiating, rewriting, reworking, and more waiting until the federal bureaucrats bless our so-called state-controlled health insurance exchange.

The Times-News editoral said something else interesting that’s worth repeating: “Ongoing costs (for the exchange) would be paid by the private sector, thus avoiding additional, unknown cost to the state at a time Idaho can’t afford it.” So, let me get this straight — the state government can’t afford it, but the private sector can? Huh. With unemployment in double digits, the private sector has demonstrated it has more money to cough up?

Compelling the private sector to take on new costs to create a new government bureaucracy seems, as the newspaper put it, “sadly short-sighted.”

Obamacare has presented Idahoans with the ultimate Hobson’s Choice. Or, so it seems. We are told we can either create a state health insurance exchange ourselves or we can fall under a federal exchange. It’s really no different than being told we have a choice of being shot in the head or shot through the chest. We can either jump off the cliff or be pushed. It’s our choice. Hooray for “state control.”

But really, there is another choice. We can choose to wait. Obamacare goes before the U.S. Supreme Court this summer. The law may yet be struck down. Telling Idahoans that they must accept a new government bureaucracy that enshrines Obamacare into state statute and compels the private sector to pay for it — even before the court has had a chance to consider the law — is unnecessary and is an affront to freedom.

Wayne Hoffman is executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a free market public policy education/research institute and government watchdog.

Read more: http://magicvalley.com/news/opinion/idaho-need-not-create-a-health-insurance-exchange/article_e67d177c-7a09-5c4f-82ee-9add9aa768c3.html#ixzz1hwvjcBTm

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