With all the media attention focused on Idaho and mock outrage from some folks, you'd think that members of the Idaho Legislature had proposed making Klingon the official language. The headlines in some newspapers speak of "rebellion," as if Idaho has amassed troops along the border and were fueling tanks and bombers. Clearly, that's not what's going on.
In 2010, state lawmakers, with my encouragement, passed the Idaho Health Freedom Act. That legislation declared that Idahoans will not be compelled to buy health insurance, despite the federal government's Obamacare requirement to the contrary.
There's still more work to do. Despite Idaho's obvious standing against Obamacare, the state government is still doing its part to help put the unconstitutional federal law in place. The state has already received grants to implement portions of the federal law. The state has received $1 million from the feds to review state health insurance premiums and another $1 million to establish health insurance exchanges. So far the state has spent only about $25,000 of those grants. Rest assured the remaining money will be spent, and, without prohibitions to the contrary, the state will be complicit in the creation of nationalized healthcare that most Idahoans oppose.
That's why I keep talking about the necessity of the state Legislature to act to prohibit the operability of Obamacare here in Idaho. House Bill 59 does that, declaring the law null and void here in Idaho.
The measure is explicit in its requirement that the state not accept or expend federal money to implement Obamacare. The measure also prohibits state agencies from writing new rules, updating existing policies and entering into new agreements with the federal government to put Obamacare in place. This is not a new concept. In 2008, state lawmakers rejected the federal government's REAL ID Act, which would have required everyone to carry a national ID card. At the time, the Legislature declared the federal law to be "a violation of the principles of federalism contained in the 10th amendment to the Constitution of the United States." Said the Legislature, "the state of Idaho shall not participate in the implementation of the REAL ID Act of 2005." The transportation department was told to report "any attempt by agencies or agents" of the federal government to implemenet REAL ID in Idaho. To my knowledge, this directive did not cause the state to secede from the national government. In fact, the bill passed unanimously, was signed by the governor here and in 21 other states. Today, you don't carry a national ID card.
Idaho policymakers have an absolute right to dictate what agencies do and don't do. House Bill 59 goes a step further and says the federal government has no power here to control the content of insurance policies, dictate whether or not new hospitals and medical facilities are constructed or to dictate what employers and insurers do with their health insurance policies. It's a perfectly reasonable position to take, consistent with what was said in 2010's Health Freedom Act.
The state's legislation won't cause the world to come to an end. But passed here and replicated in other states, it will force the federal government's hand. The state governments either stand against Obamacare, here and now, in 2011, and stop the government's march toward socialism or become unwitting partipants in bringing it to fruition.