Opinion: governor can still stop Obamacare in Idaho


Gov. Butch Otter receivied a firsthand look at a natural gas well last week from representatives of Alta Mesa energy company.

On Friday, the Senate State Affairs Committee killed on a 7-2 vote House Bill 117, which would have prevented the operability of Obamacare in Idaho. It’s amazing to me that lawmakers in a state like Idaho would refuse to pass legislation to keep Obamacare from taking hold in the state. House Bill 117 was not radical, but it was two-fold. First it was an extension of last year’s Idaho Health Freedom Act and would have afforded employers, insurers and other healthcare providers protections not afforded under original Idaho Health Freedom Act. Second, the bill would have instructed state agencies to not implement the unconstitutional Obamacare law. This instruction – for the state agencies to not implement an unconstitutional overreach of the federal government is not new to Idaho either. In 2008, state lawmakers instructed the Idaho Transportation Department not to implement the REAL ID law, which would have required citizens of Idaho and the rest of the country to carry a national identification card.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC) a conservative legislative organization, is urging state legislatures to “decline to build the Obamacare edifice.”  ALEC recommends that states stop promulgating rules that put Obamacare into place and stop accepting federal grants that are being awarded to the states to put the program in place.

The Senate State Affairs Committee had an opportunity to support a bill that would have directed agencies to stop receiving and spending federal money intended to put Obamacare into service. The committee had an opportunity to tell state agencies to not put in place the rules and regulations needed to make Obamacare work. Sens. Chuck Winder of Russ Fulcher sided with the legislation. Kudos to them. The bill failed on a voice vote. Sens. Curt McKenzie, Patti Anne Lodge, John McGee, Bart Davis, Brent Hill, Edgar Malepeai and Michelle Stennett opposed House Bill 117. The measure remains in the committee, so it is within the realm of possibilities that the Legislature could act.

Gov. Butch Otter signaled his support for the bill, and the Legislature disregarded the desires of the state’s chief executive. Regardless of what the Legislature does, the governor could join the chorus of his colleagues across the country who have unilaterally directed state agencies to not accept the federal government’s money to implement Obamacare and who have directed state employees to spend no time writing rules of needs to put the program in place. Otter could still wind up the hero Idahoans are looking for.

Some people, particularly in the Legislature,  contend the only thing states can do in the event of an overreaching federal government is write letters to the editor and send nastygrams, called joint memorials, to Congress critical of the federal government’s actions.

The Founding Fathers fought a war for freedom. I find it difficult to believe that in moments like this, with our very freedom at stake, that the Founders really intended for states to sit back and implement the unconstitutional laws of the federal government. That’s exactly what’s happening. Unless the governor takes the action that the Legislature refused to, the state of Idaho will be responsible for the implementation of the very law that the state of Idaho is suing to block.

Comments

comments

8 Comments

  1. Committee Against Fake Journalism

    Wayne, the law’s not unconstitutional until the Supreme Court says it is. Conclusory statements on constitutionality from non-scholars is nothing more than demagoguery. Howzabout we just chill until the court rules.

  2. Custer County Tea Party

    Howzabout you at Fake Journalism show me where it says in the Constitution that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of Constitutionality. Judicial Review was a manifestation of the Court not the Constitution. The States and the People are the final arbier of Constitutionality in a Constitutional Republic such as ours. Howzabout you wise up.

  3. Gimom

    Committee Against Fake Journalism…

    You are woefully ignorant…. It doesn’t take a scholar to understand the constitution. It was written plainly for the specific reason to not require a legal scholar to “interpret it”.
    The states are the agents of its people and are sovereign under the 10th amendment.

    The court is not the final arbiter here. They have just been allowed to assume this mantle – Marbury Vs. Madison was the first usurpation of power by the judiciary and it has continued ever since.

    Wayne editorial here is excellent and right on.

  4. Committee for Constitutional Scholarship

    CCTP and Gimom: FWIW, under our Constitutional and legal structure, Marbury v. Madison is the law of the land. Either you’re for the rule of law or you’re not.

  5. Elijah Henry

    Every individual who takes an oath to uphold the Constitution is morally and legally required to uphold the Constitution as he reads it, not as someone else tells him it is supposed to read. The courts can rule a ‘law’ unconstitutional, but the executive can also refuse to enforce an unconstitutional ‘law’. Likewise, state officials must interpose on behalf of their constituents to protect them from Tyranny.

  6. ErvTheEnforcer

    If you read the original article on IR last week when the Senate committee rejected HB117, at least Patti Anne Lodge was honest, We the People of Idaho were sold for $11 a piece (her concern was $11M in funding for Medicare, about 1M people in Idaho, simple division).

    To Committee for Constitutional Scholarship:

    Try again – Marbury v. Madison was a judicial finding that ruled that Madison was not required to deliver commissions to judges appointed to the bench during John Adam’s last twelve hours as President and that the legislative act was not consistent with the Constitution. It was ultimately Thomas Jefferson’s decision to determine if the commission was to be delivered.

    The Constitution for the united States is the law of the land, not the opinion of one John Marshall. For your information, Supreme Court opinion is just that – opinion, not gospel.

    This mentality of waiting for the mighty SCOTUS to preach the gospel is nothing more than a throwback to the Dark Ages. The People are the ultimate authority, not nine high priests in black robes touting their own knowledge of other people’s opinions – did you get that? This is all nothing more than a religious fanaticism based on opinions of a string of priests ordained by the Bar.

  7. handyman

    I am not an expert of theconsitution but I am a compassionate person and I think it is time our government, our country,
    gets in sync with the rest of the free world that offers healthcare (not free)for there entire population.
    Healthcare insurance should be nonprofit

  8. MythBuster

    Politics and opinions notwithstanding, here’s the factual determinations regarding this issue: 1. Congress HAS determined that Obamacare is not only constitutional, but a worthwhile effort in addressing the health care crises in America. 2. Idaho’s own Attorney General has stated that Congress has the right to make laws in America, and that the letter of THIS law does not violate the Constitution. 3. That the sole alternative response of the GOP to our health care crises is to allow for more competition within the private sector here in Idaho. Well, there is no prohibition against any out of state Insurance Company to market their product in Idaho, as long as they abide by Idaho State Health Insurance laws, and pay into the Idaho State Insurance pool as all other authorized carriers do. So, can someone please explain to me what Butch Otter and our State Legislators have in mind?

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