We support good government, not political hostage-taking

Fred Birnbaum Articles

I really don’t like writing rebuttals to criticisms of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Sometimes, I just have to take the bait.

Two issues really stick in my craw and both relate to the relationship of the federal government to Idaho and how it is perceived both by politicians and the mainstream press.

Recently, Rep. Luke Malek was quoted in an article titled, Malek offers different brand in north Idaho, concerning his support of the end-of-session child support legislation and the Idaho health care exchange. These examples were cited as proof of his interest in “governing.” In the piece, Malek cast stones at IFF for creating “a political movement based on obedience.”

What is not clear from Malek’s quotes is what is really different about Malek’s approach to government than most politicians. They generally go along with the majority or the establishment.

Let’s examine the two examples offered in the article, the Idaho health care exchange and last session’s child support legislation.

With respect to the former, what exactly has Idaho’s establishment of a state health care exchange accomplished? Yes, we have a state portal and not just a federal portal, but one of the key notions of the Affordable Care Act was, well, that it would be affordable. Perhaps it is for those on subsidies. However, hardly a week passes by without some mention in the press that premiums will go up by double digits this year. IFF’s employees already face a $2,000 deductible just to keep premiums, barely, affordable.

If anything, the implementation of the ACA vindicates those opposed to a non-market based solution to health care in America. Just recently an Associated Press article by Christina Cassidy noted that in at least 14 states that opted to expand Medicaid, the surge in enrollments have exceeded expectations; California enrollees were three times greater than expected and Oregon’s new enrollments exceeded estimates by 73 percent. Naturally, the states cited in the article are wringing their hands about to pay for the Medicaid expansion when the federal matching percentage declines.

If this does not sound familiar, it should. The Idaho Freedom Foundation has fought Medicaid expansion for several years, as well as the original state health care exchange. So, is it fair to label opponents of the state health exchange and Medicaid expansion as opponents of “governance?” The law has created many of the unintended consequences that IFF warned against. Good governance includes defeating ill-conceived legislation.

Let’s turn our sights to the child support legislation, formally The Uniform Interstate Family Security Act. Opponents of this legislation were portrayed in a variety of ways; as obstructionists, spiteful, against children, etc. Let’s keep in mind that the federal government threatened to cut off temporary assistance to needy families, among other things, if Idaho did not become a signatory to this international compact on child support. Stated differently, there are over 400,000 children and adults impacted by child support payments, but the international component impacts about 100 kids. The hypocrisy is astounding. The same federal government that fails to enforce federal immigration laws on the books threatened to upend all child support payments affecting Idaho over a small piece of model legislation -that was designed to ensure that 100 kids of foreign national parents don’t get stiffed.

Who is demanding obedience? Who is really the bully?

Critics of the Idaho Freedom Foundation love to portray us as the bad actor for simply pointing out egregious examples of political hypocrisy and double-dealing.
We at the Idaho Freedom Foundation DO believe government should govern effectively, but our opponents want to brush aside our policy critiques because their main concern is accommodating big government.