Hat Tip: Carolyn Cooke
I am sooo glad we chose Idaho as our home two years ago. Governor Otter has just renewed my faith in this state and his leadership. From his letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi:
C. L. “BUTCH” OTTER
December 28, 2009
The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
522 Hart Senate Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
235 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
RE: “Health Care Reform”
Dear Madam Speaker and Majority Leader,
I am alarmed by the recent actions of Congress, with both the House and Senate rushing to pass “health care reform” over the past two months. The deal making, arm twisting and the ends-justifying-the means attitude that we saw throughout the process and recent votes on HR 3590 (as amended) and HR 3962 reflected a fundamental disconnect with the real challenges and priorities of ordinary Americans.
Where does the U.S. Constitution grant Congress the power to pass legislation mandating compulsory health care coverage or creating a nationalized health care system? Even the wildest interpretations of the “general welfare clause” in Article I, section 8 of the U.s. Constitution cannot justify what congressional leadership and the Administration propose within the bills. It is disappointing that some members of Congress have seemingly forgotten that the U.S. Constitution limits the authority of the legislative branch to the enumerated powers of Article I, and that absent such power it cannot enact laws no matter how “just” or “well-intentioned.”
States -including Idaho -continue to point out the financial burdens associated with the most recent proposals. The astronomical costs prOjected with either bill will greatly impact our children and grandchildren as taxpayers shoulder the tremendous debt associated with these potential “solutions.” Moreover, many states and local governments will experience increased costs not covered by either bill, which could constitute a crushing unfunded mandate and violation of federal law.
Perhaps even more troubling are the undemocratic and inequitable compromises reached in the U.S. Senate to push HR 3590 through the process. It is appalling to learn that both Nebraska and Louisiana have received deals, now referred to as the “Nebraska Compromise” and new “Louisiana Purchase” in return for their senators’ support. I find it dubious that taxpayers in Idaho and other states will have to cover 100 percent of costs associated with newly eligible Medicaid enrollees in Nebraska or provide an additional $300 million in Medicaid aid to Louisiana.
I understand many families are struggling to meet their basic needs today, including health care. However, that is no excuse to sacrifice fiscal responsibility, sound judgment and constitutionality for political expediency. We need an open and robust discussion about health care in America. That has not happened and I am skeptical that it could in the short amount of time members of Congress had to consider these voluminous bills.
I will follow the conference committee and Congress as they hastily proceed to pass health care legislation in the upcoming weeks. I also will continue working with Idaho’s congressional delegation to ensure Idahoans’ voices are heard in the process.
I question the wisdom as well as the constitutionality and legality of these bills and will explore all my options, including legal action, to protect Idaho and the U.s. Constitution should Congress adopt and the President sign compromise health care legislation. Given the bills now before the conference committee all that truly will be “compromised” is our American system of government in exchange for a multi-generational legacy of debt.
As Always -Idaho, “Esto Perpetua”
c.l. “Butch” Otter Governor of Idaho
Cc: Senator Mike Crapo
Senator James Risch
Congressman Mike Simpson
Congressman Walt Minnick
And, predictably, here is the slimy response from AARP:
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 5, 2009
AARP SAYS GOVERNOR OTTER ON WRONG PAGE WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM
Gov’s Threats to Fight Reforms and Sue U.S. Puts Interests of Insurance Companies and Rx Industry before Idaho’s Health Care Crisis
BOISE, Idaho – As Congress readies to merge the Senate and House health care reform bills, some states, including Idaho, are stepping up to serve as the latest roadblock. Before even seeing the details of the final legislation, Idaho’s Governor “Butch” Otter recently announced he would fight reform efforts and possibly sue the United States over the constitutionality of the issue.
AARP is calling that a move in the wrong direction for tackling the state’s growing health care crisis, and says the constitutional challenge is a scare tactic and unfounded.
“Governor Otter’s announcement to rail against health care reform is premature, unnecessary and, if successful, would do much more harm than good for hundreds of thousands of Idahoans struggling with high health care costs,” said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP in Idaho. “This move puts the interests and profits of insurance and drug companies before the needs of Idaho families, businesses and retirees buckling under insurance premiums and rising prescription drug prices.”
In Idaho, 221,000 people are uninsured – the overwhelming majority (88%) of which are employed. Roughly 27% of Idaho’s Medicare beneficiaries fell into the prescription drug coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole” last year, where they had to pay full price out of pocket for their prescriptions – leaving many to stop taking their medications or cut pills due to costs. While 400,000 residents spend about 10% of their incomes on health care, 100,000 spend upwards of 25% – for older people health care costs eat up about 30% of their household income.
Without any action on health care reform, health insurance premiums will increase 40% in the next few years and double by 2016. Brand name prescription drug prices, which soared by over 9% in the past year, are expected to continue to rise.
“To simply say “no” to health care reform can only serve to make Idaho’s health care crisis worse, the cost of inaction on this issue is too high,” added Wordelman. “We’re calling on Idaho’s elected officials to set partisan politics aside and work to make the final health care reform bill the best it can be – that’s what Idaho deserves.”
Both the Senate and the House bill would: lower drug costs; help the uninsured and businesses have more affordable access to health insurance; ensure people with pre-existing conditions have access to health insurance; hold insurers more accountable to consumers; protect choice of doctors; and hold down the costs of coverage. AARP has committed to making the final health care reform package even stronger by working to permanently close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole as the Senate bill is merged with the House bill. Both the Senate bill and the House bill have moved forward without support from Idaho’s Congressional delegation.
My hat is off to Governor Otter for standing by the people of the great state of Idaho and for standing firm on the Constitution and its principles. Thank you for being the strong leader we need and you can be assured of my support and vote when the time comes.
To all the good people of Idaho – drop AARP now! Dump the thieves and corrupt politicians and let’s clean house!!! I find AARP’s statement against the good Governor offensive and specious to say the least… They are nothing but a corrupt tool for the Obama administration and the radicals, Marxists and subversives that are comfortably ensconced within it. Shame on AARP. But no fear, hell hath no fury like a voter scorned and AARP who supposedly serves the senior niche of our economy has angered said niche so much that I wonder what their longevity will be. Unless of course they envision the current administration forcing Americans to subscribe to them and bow to them as Obama would have us do with the Unions, etc. Americans will never stand for that. Idaho will stand, independently if need be, and fight for her Constitutional rights to the bitter end.