Like it or not, health care law survives - Coeur d'Alene Press: Political

Like it or not, health care law survives

Decision derided in North Idaho

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Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - State legislators and health-care officials from Kootenai County have varying premonitions of how the Supreme Court's decision on government mandated health coverage will affect Idaho.

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, believes the financial impact on the state will be draining, he said.

"The fact is this will add to Idaho's overall burden hugely," Barbieri said on Thursday. "It's going to be very difficult for Idaho to afford this, even if we can figure out how to raise taxes appropriately so we can afford it."

Barbieri, who led efforts to nullify the federal health care overhaul last year, was at a loss over whether legislators could wage another battle.

"Certainly the state has no power to stop the federal government from taxing," he said of the court's declaration that the mandate falls within Congress' authority to lay and collect taxes. "I'm not sure the state has any power or authority to avoid this intrusion."

Sen. Jim Hammond didn't have higher hopes.

"If you take something to the Supreme Court and you lose, I'm not sure what else you can do," said Hammond, R-Post Falls and a former member of the Health and Welfare committee.

He expects implementation will be largely left up to the states, however, which will provide opportunities to quell impacts.

"As much as we can in Idaho, we'll try to minimize that," he said.

Hammond reasoned that the state could end up doing away with Medicaid altogether, though he doesn't see that as a budget savings.

"It will be replaced by the new Obamacare, which could be even more costly," he said of the law's coverage of everyone, not just the low income. "It's spreading a wider swath than Medicaid."

Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, said he expects Gov. Butch Otter might call a special legislative session to work on a state health insurance exchange, which the legislature deferred action on last session.

"I hope we don't find ourselves in the position we'll have to default to the federal exchange," Goedde said. "We would have no regulation. We would have to do whatever the federal carriers mandate. And typically, Washington has been a lot more liberal on granting benefits than local states, especially Idaho."

Himself licensed to sell health insurance, Goedde also worries that Idaho-based insurance companies will be at a disadvantage, competing against national carriers in the exchange.

"I can tell you for a fact that Washington, D.C., doesn't care what happens to health insurance companies in the state of Idaho," Goedde said. "We're small potatoes."

Republican Rep. Marge Chadderdon said she hopes that states won't be as affected by the federal health-care law as had been previously expected.

"I understand that there's much that for states like Idaho, we won't have to comply with some of it," the Coeur d'Alene lawmaker said, adding that she is still analyzing the court's decision.

Her greater concern is how the general economy will fare, she said.

"I do know it's going to take money out of the economy, when everyone's going to have to have insurance, whether they want it or not," Chadderdon said. "It's going to affect our everyday economy, when those dollars won't be used to purchase something else."

Health careofficials offer mixed opinions

n "When we developed Kootenai Health's strategic plan, we assumed that the Affordable Care Act would remain in place," said Jon Ness, Kootenai Health CEO, in a prepared statement. "The Supreme Court's decision allows us to stay the course with our plans.

"While the Supreme Court's decision leaves virtually all of the Affordable Care Act's provisions in place, many practical challenges, including the upcoming federal and state elections, may significantly impact or slow implementation of the federal act."

n Lora Whalen, Panhandle Health District director, said The Affordable Health Care Act will improve access for people who can't afford health care now, "and that's good."

"It'll raise the demand for health care. As for the impact on PHD, we'll have to wait and see. PHD doesn't provide acute care, and there are so many unanswered questions regarding the health-care act at this point," she said.

n Vaughn Ward, CEO of the physician-owned, for-profit Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls, said the act is a step toward socialized medicine and is a hit on free market competition.

"While I have fought for and support our great nation and our system of government, I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's ruling," said Ward, a veteran who fought in Iraq. "This is a major step in the direction of a socialized health-care system in the U.S., which I believe will adversely effect the quality, timeliness and accessibility we currently enjoy."

n Andrea Thomas, spokeswoman for the North Idaho Health Network that consists of about 270 physicians and community-owned facilities such as Kootenai Medical Center, Bonner General and Shoshone Community Hospital, said the decision validates the need for change.

"The ruling reinforces North Idaho Health Network's decision to transform the way health care is designed, delivered and experienced locally," Thomas said. "The ruling clears the skepticisms surrounding the permanency of payment reform and the need for the medical community to re-evaluate the current care delivery model."

n Mike Baker, CEO of Dirne Community Health Center, said passage of the act "is a very positive step for the patients in our community living without health insurance."

Those patients include middle-class families who are unable to purchase the health insurance from their employer to the patients that Dirne serves in the homeless program.

"We hear time and time again that people are delaying health care because of the financial shortfalls that folks are facing," Baker wrote. "We have seen the devastating effects of delaying health care - lives are cut short, the workforce becomes less reliable and the overall quality of life in a community begins to decrease."

He said Dirne applauds the efforts by both sides of the political aisle to evaluate the state of the health-care system. At the same time, Baker said Dirne questions about how the legislation will look now that they have changed the requirements for the Medicaid program.

"As it stands, it looks like everyone will face a penalty if they do not buy health insurance, but most people anticipate that the premiums will still be too costly for patients that would have qualified for the Medicaid subsidy," Baker said. "Would these patients now have to pay a penalty and still not have health insurance?"

Dirne is working to provide local solutions to local problems. It launched a health-care membership program that small business can utilize for employees.

For less than $150/month a family of four can have access to the basic health care that they need.

"We understand that the new legislation creates concern because of the huge increases in federal spending. We hope that common sense will ultimately prevail and that we will have a system that is affordable, accessible and accountable in our community."

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  • aayupp posted at 9:32 pm on Sun, Jul 1, 2012.

    aayupp Posts: 319

    "I can tell you for a fact that Washington, D.C., doesn't care what happens to health insurance companies in the state of Idaho," Goedde said. "We're small potatoes."

    sounds like your getting a little nervous, sir. i wonder why? are you representing us or just your special interest??.

  • The Golden Mean posted at 11:49 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    “Would any of us buy shares in a company that we knew would produce a loss of a million dollars a share,” asks Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa"

    Do you really wanna talk about bad investments?

    How many of us would buy shares of a broke country whose Right Wing leadership started two wars, charged them on their Bank of China Credit Card and then proceeded to discount desperately needed incoming revenues for its top bill payers (the extremely wealthy). And then, and then... They blamed it all on the new guy driving the bus.

    You gotta start to wonder... Has the Right Wing gone completely insane?

  • Mahiun posted at 9:52 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    Mahiun Posts: 5643

    It's okay, searcher, it's pretty much what we've all come to expect. No surprises.... Besides being a red herring that has nothing to do with the ACA, it's also.........wrong! Because:

    [*] We have actually had a net out migration of undocumented immigrants, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, the Border Patrol, and ICE. More undocumented immigrants are leaving the country than coming in, and the undocumented immigrant population is now estimates to have decreased to between 8 and 9 million, nationwide --- and continuing to decline.

    [*] Non-citizens would not fall under any government-sponsored healthcare program for citizens, just as they do not currently qualify for welfare or food stamps.

    [*] The overall net effect of undocumented workers on the economy is estimated, by most reputable economists, as essentially neutral, with the possibility of a very very slight net positive effect, in the form of slight downward pressure on prices. The effect is thought to be negligible, however.

    [*] Native-born indigent and uninsured Americans are by far the biggest consumers of uncompensated medical services.

    Another plate of Red Herring, anyone??!

  • searcher posted at 7:45 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    searcher Posts: 365

    @inclined - I see your method now... you can't adequately refute sensible arguments, so you shift the blame to undocumented workers. Hmmm. Sounds pretty lame to me.If Steve King is such a genius, where's his support for immigration reform?

  • inclined posted at 5:29 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 681

    Here is a sample of M's single tax payer health"care" policy, actually in effect, ever before the law was passed in 2010. I am talking about us, we the people, we have been the single payers of the policy outlined below, for a very long time.

    It is estimated that there are approximately between 12 million and 15 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S., and some say more, more.

    A new study by the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector has it, that If the lower figure of 12 million illegal aliens is used for estimation purposes, the total tax burden translates to $2.2 trillion" [for that number in a lifetime, with people coming and going for, say over fifteen years. This encompasses their contribution, the fact that these illegals do pay taxes, buy food, goods and services. But, the contribution is after the fact, and way below the burden. They are felons for being here , is first.

    “Would any of us buy shares in a company that we knew would produce a loss of a million dollars a share,” asks Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in response to the study."

  • riversharkes posted at 5:22 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    riversharkes Posts: 100

    2002 - 2006 republicans control senate house and white house...4 years to create solution to health care problem..what did they do? nothing...oh wait they passed a $1trillion dollar persription drug bill that only fattened the pockets of big pharma...and of course rejected the attempt by democrats to allow medicare/medicaid negotiate drug prices for those programs...and they blocked states from buying drugs from canada to lower costs..cause that is not in line with free enterprise....what would Romney do?? hmm...what did he do in mass??

  • chouli posted at 2:12 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    Luv you two

  • Mahiun posted at 1:51 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    Mahiun Posts: 5643

    It's really pretty simple, GM: the only "government healthcare mandate" they support is the transvaginal probe....

    Government apparently needs to be small enough to fit in a uterus, big enough to fit in EVERY uterus.

    Big enough to fit into every bedroom, small enough to get kicked out of every boardroom.

    Small enough to not fit into any church, big enough for the church to fit into every government building.

    Big enough to control every birth, small enough to ignore every death.

    See how it works??

  • The Golden Mean posted at 12:45 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    Don't trust the government? Individually reject the plan and refuse to participate if you're that against it.

    You are still free to get sick and die in America

    In fact, that would be a great idea for a Right Wing protest. Refuse all government funded medical attention and then die. Sorry, that sounded kinda gross but if you think about it, it really is gross that people are dying in this country because they cannot afford medical care.

    The Right Wing is Bizarre - Isn't it a trip that the same group who wants to probe the private parts of our female citizens (against their will) to "save lives" is also against doing something that will save already the living?

    Right Wing Hypocritical Policy News Flash - A young man who lived thanks to a mandatory government vaginal probe died today today because he could not afford health care. A spokesperson for the Republicans said that party was working on a new tax break for the wealthy which should drastically reduce the number of those who are questionably saved only to needlessly die as the of result Right Wing Policy.

    Maybe we should pray about it?

  • Mahiun posted at 12:22 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    Mahiun Posts: 5643

    Actually, Joey, you might be interested to know that our whole employer-provided health insurance "system" (which is actually not a "system" at all, but a crazy quilt --- emphasis on "crazy" --- that is just barely stitched together by a collection of state laws) was never intended to be the basis of healthcare in this country. It is purely that result of an accident, that we were too lazy to correct. There's nothing intrinsically "all-American" about it! And it's a whole lot more recent than you probably think, too....

    During World War II, when every factory and production outlet in the country was turned to war efforts, and nearly every labourer was likewise focused on war efforts, private employers were in fierce competition for very scarce labour. One of the ways they chose to compete against other employers was by offering employer-paid health insurance to employees. Again, it was never intended to last beyond the employment situation of the war! We just never got around to changing it....

    But now, things are actually headed the OTHER direction. For those employers who offer health insurance at all --- and many don't! --- they pay less and less and less of it, leaving the employee to pick up the slack, out of an ever-shrinking paycheque. Or, the employer you've worked for, for years and years and years, may suddenly decide not to offer health insurance benefits any more --- you're 'earning" it (leaving aside, for the moment, the question of why one should have to "earn" the right to be healthy, and why one's employer is the one making that determination of whether or not you "deserve" to be healthy), but you're not getting it.

    This is one of the strongest arguments for single-payer health insurance: it follows you, regardless of who your employer is, whether that employer offers health benefits, or even whether you have an employer. "But......", I hear you ask, ".....wouldn't that provide an incentive not to work, and just collect unemployment??!" Not really, because your health insurance premium still comes out of your unemployment pay, just like any other income tax would --- which means that your already meagre unemployment amount is going to be stretched even tighter.... There is every incentive to find work and make more money, since you'll be paying that insurance premium either way --- the difference is that the premium will be considerably less on a single-payer system.

    We will eventually have single-payer, and join the rest of the civilized world. And when it happens, ti will almost certainly be in the form of simply expanding Medicare to cover those citizens who are not currently covered under the plan. Proponents of single-payer probably would have done better, all along, to simply have called it "Medicare For All", but what's done is done....

  • chouli posted at 12:08 pm on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    thx for the clarification, idahojoey.

    it seems greed and the corporate bottom line is behind most of the troubles in society. money is power and power ismoney. jobs are moved to foreign countries so corporations can make bigger profits. unemployment increases here. costs rise. there is no trickle down. never was. the wealthy get wealthier and wealthier.

    that being said simpliistically ...the matter remains to be that the US should provide health care for it's citizens. I'm not including welfare or assistance of any kind in the mix. A single payer system for basic healthcare for everyone. It's the right thing to do and it's way, way overdue.

    Cut out the wasted tax money spend by governmental pork, excess military spending, STOP sending billions to foreign countries, especially the ones that hate us, cut out the fraud in the existing healthcare costs, reduce the profit in healthcare including the big pharmaceuticals and mostly insurance companies, etc... I don't care how expensive it is. Every citizen needs health care.

  • IdahoJoey posted at 11:20 am on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    IdahoJoey Posts: 344

    Hey chouli - that's no news flash at all. We all know that and have for years.

    And you could not be further from the truth in saying that I don't care about those who don't have health care. I just want to give it to them the same way I get mine. By giving them a job and having them earn it. And that does not happen in an entitlement society. I'm willing to pitch in for those who are truly unable to work, but that number is a very small fraction compared to those who aren't working because they don't want to or because they cannot actually find a job. Fix the economy to provide jobs, require those capable of working to do so, and then help those who TRULY are so disabled or cannot provide for themselves for other reasons. But anyone who can work will never get my vote to provide them with handouts.

    'nuff said.

  • chouli posted at 8:26 am on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    @idahojoey, so you are against the ACA because you dont want your costs going up? here's a news flash for ya, the insurance companies don't give a rip about you and plan to increase your costs as much as they can cuz they're in it for a profit and as much profit as possible. it's also very telling that you don't care that millions are not able to get any healthcare. just as long as you have don't care about the rest...

    I see the front page of the paper today says the Repubs are working on their plan to repeal the ACA...that's their priority. Not healthcare for all citizens.

    and floorist, you crack me up. and yup, "Well, ain't we all just a bitchy bunch...?" :-)

  • the floorist posted at 2:36 am on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    the floorist Posts: 331

    I'll betcha every single person who posted an opinion on this topic is "health" insured...

    Well, ain't we all just a bitchy bunch...?

  • jmowreader posted at 1:55 am on Sat, Jun 30, 2012.

    jmowreader Posts: 1495

    Bob Loblaw, I'll tell you exactly who John Galt is: He's a rich guy who inherited his fortune, bought all the knowledge he needed to build his company, added exactly nothing of value to it, then went into a hissy fit and ran off in the middle of the night when the government asked him to pay taxes. Three years after he did, the employees of his old company, left to their own devices, have tripled sales and quadrupled the number of approved patent applications from what they were during the "Galt era."

  • IdahoJoey posted at 10:50 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    IdahoJoey Posts: 344

    Sorry Searcher, but YOU don't get it. My health care costs have already risen more since the passing of the ACA then it did in the 10 years prior. Nothing else changed, just the cost for the same level of coverage. It WILL NOT mean lower costs for everyone. You cannot dump whatever the number is of uninsured into a system (30M?) and expect everything to cost less. Duh. Those uninsured folks aren't paying now, and they sure can't pay then, so those who make the right choices in life and work hard enough to earn a decent living will be paying for them. That means OUR costs go up even more. Theirs will remain the same . . . free. Screw that.

  • searcher posted at 9:03 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    searcher Posts: 365

    It is amazing that conservatives can be so short sighted... Since when are conservatives against personal responsibility? That is exactly what the ACA does - discourage (via tax penalty) free riders in the health care system. Don't you get it.. this means lower overall costs for everyone.

    Universal health care = no free riders = preventive care for everyone = healthier society = lower costs for everyone.

    However, I agree with flash... I would prefer MEDICARE FOR ALL. At least this is a good start.

    Will: Medicare would not be going "bust" if membership included more than the weakest, oldest and sickest members of society. Medicare overhead is only about 4.5% as opposed to private insurance at 12-30%. Where would you rather put your money?

  • will-- posted at 6:29 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    will-- Posts: 1214

    The government can't keep Medicare from going bust, why should they be trusted with anything else?

  • Cody Wiench posted at 4:51 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    Cody Wiench Posts: 355

    Let's assume that American healthcare will go into crisis mode with this many people uninsured. will. And if you don't believe that, you're an idiot. Okay, so what should we do? Republicans, seriously, I want to know what you all propose. And I have good intentions, if you all can propose a practical plan that will insure almost every American, I would like to learn more.

    (Keeping 30+ million uninsured is not an option, btw, if we all want to have quality healthcare, so they status quo is not an acceptable answer)

  • DeNiles posted at 2:42 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    Yep..... Give the Republicans the white house and a super-majority in congress. Then they could rework this legislation w/o any input from the Dems. That is how the Dems passed it in the 1st place, remember? Recall the Democratic leadership invoking cloture so that the healthcare bill could be passed on real short notice, avoiding any floor debate? In fact the body of the bill was not even fully understood before Obama shoved it through using his Democratic buddies.

    So yeah,...... Vote Republican.

  • Flash Gordon posted at 1:40 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1686

    According to John Goedde, his insurance business needs protection against unbridled competition. I personally was hoping the Obama administration would go to a single payer (medicare for all) system that would eliminate the insurance companies all together. We don't need health care insurance....we need health care delivery.

    I bet the cost of health care would be substantially reduced if health insurance "administrative fees" and ceo bonuses were factored out of the equation.

  • Flash Gordon posted at 1:11 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1686

    Joseph.....I'm sure it's just an over sight on your part but the Bush tax cuts coupled with two unfunded wars, an unfunded drug program, T.A.R.P., plus whatever stimulus used after tarp, has really exacerbated the deficit. Oh, and by the way, government growth (in all phases) is the lowest under this administration over the past 35 years......

  • Screen Name posted at 1:06 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    Screen Name Posts: 972

    Himself licensed to sell health insurance, Goedde also worries that Idaho-based insurance companies will be at a disadvantage, competing against national carriers in the exchange.
    "I can tell you for a fact that Washington, D.C., doesn't care what happens to health insurance companies in the state of Idaho," Goedde said. "We're small potatoes."

    Well, John - One of the principles that your Party espouses is "free market" capitalism where the most innovative are financially rewarded for their business acumen, and those who cannot keep up, get left by the wayside. John, are you saying that you don't want insurance companies to compete in a free market on a national level? Should there be some sort of socialist policy to protect the "small potatoes"?

  • IdahoJoey posted at 1:03 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    IdahoJoey Posts: 344

    Hey Uncle Fester - It's never too late to repeal any law. It could happen today or it could happen in 30 years. But it IS going to happen. Until then it just be de-funded by the House of Representatives. It is dead in the water.

  • uncle fester posted at 12:12 pm on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    uncle fester Posts: 831

    Even if Mittens buys the election they wont have time to vote this out with legislation and since Idaho has been counting on the law being repealed, it will cost the citizens of the State to get the plan set up. Your elected officials lead you down the garden path in Idaho. Regarding the nations debt I guess I have to remind Joseph Jr that his hero BUSH ran this country into the ground and Obama got stuck with the results. (Credit card wars, cutting taxes on the rich and burning up Clintons surplus) It always amazes me how people in this country can continue to maintain the ignorance at such a high level. Regarding Obamacare what was the GOP alternative? Sick people are not going away.

  • Joseph Jr posted at 9:52 am on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512

    The struggling middle class, will suffer as more will be unemployed.

    Obama has taken our nation from being 6 Trillion dollars in debt, to over 13 trillion dollars in debt in just 3 1/2 years.

    Idaho's debt: As of August 2011, it would take a donation/payment of $3,000.00+ from every man, woman and child residing in Idaho, to pay it off.

    That would not include the nations debt. For that, I believe the number would be over $6,000.00+ from every man, woman and child in the U.S.

    Food stamps in Idaho have tripled since 2007.

    Anyone else concerned?

  • Bob Loblaw posted at 9:09 am on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 413

    Who is John Galt?

  • Flash Gordon posted at 8:38 am on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1686

    This is definitely not the European model however, it is Mitt Romney's model and he'll be hard pressed to defend himself in the three national debates before November. Every state and the nation as a whole has failed to adequately deal with this issue. The repubs had a "solution" until Obama co-opted the repubs have no solution nor

  • will-- posted at 7:40 am on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    will-- Posts: 1214

    Maobama likes the European model and look what it's done for them.

    What happened to his promise of no taxes on the middle class. This monsterosity need to be repealed before it bankrupts us.

  • IdahoJoey posted at 7:09 am on Fri, Jun 29, 2012.

    IdahoJoey Posts: 344

    I'm not too worried about it. After the next inauguration it will quickly be repealed. Until then the House can just de-fund it.

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