I thank my friend, Bryan Smith, for defending the Idaho Constitution and America’s founding principles against the popularly-supported Medicaid expansion.
In the interest of space, I won’t recite Bryan’s legal arguments here, as you can read my previous commentaries and the arguments presented in Bryan’s filings with the state Supreme Court. Instead, I’d rather applaud Bryan’s courage in the face of the expected criticism and ridicule from the usual suspects on the Left and in the media.
During the election, Bryan and I discussed the constitutional problems with Medicaid expansion and the threat it poses to the state, its people, and the nation. Bryan quickly volunteered his services to represent Idaho Freedom Foundation board chairman Brent Regan in the legal challenge to Proposition 2. Bryan did so because he understands that the expansion of socialism (yes, Medicaid is socialism) is dangerous and will end in disaster. He understood that embarking on a lawsuit against a policy that won at the ballot box comes at great expense and no small measure of self-sacrifice.
Bryan is the kind of person America needs more of: a leader who is willing to stand tall in defense of liberty. This is no easy task. Allow me to explain. Over the last many months and before Proposition 2 was voted on, I have asked numerous state elected officials to help defeat Medicaid expansion. Some have. But most have sheepishly told me that they wished they could publicly articulate their opposition to Medicaid expansion. They know it’s bad policy. But they have remained silent because they fear political backlash.
After Proposition 2 passed, the pattern of silent consent only amplified. Many legislators told me they hoped the lawsuit will be successful so that it might save the state from the obvious cataclysm that lies ahead. The fear is that the economy will slow and projected costs associated with Medicaid expansion will dwarf projections. Such a scenario would reduce funds for programs like education, infrastructure, and public safety.
If the Court rules against Medicaid expansion it would spare the silent legislators from having to make painful cuts to important programs. A Court ruling against Medicaid expansion would not taint elected officials and their desire to uphold the election’s “will of the people.” They’re praying that Bryan’s arguments win the court’s favor because it’s the easiest, safest outcome.
Consider the awful implications of that: Idaho is a Republican-controlled state with a supermajority Republican Legislature, a Republican governor, and an all-Republican executive branch and congressional delegation. These politicians claim to oppose, at every turn, the implementation of Obamacare because they know, first hand, the damage that Obamacare has done—is doing—to the American economy and healthcare system. In addition, legislators who have been around for more than a term know the damage Medicaid has wrought by making people increasingly dependent on government and how much of the state budget is lost each year to this growing monstrosity of a program. Yet they’re paralyzed by the politics. How sad.
And so, thanks again to my friend Bryan Smith for having the courage to stand up and to do what’s right for Idaho, for our country, for a free society.
Photo credit: Melissa Davlin, Idaho Public Television