Governor backtracks, says $300M not at riskBOISE — Gov. Butch Otter concedes he misspoke last week by suggesting Idaho could lose $300 million in federal Medicaid funding if it doesn’t adopt an insurance exchange required by Congress’ 2010 health care overhaul. Otter’s gaffe set off a brief political flurry as it raised hackles among conservative foes who thought he was resorting to brinksmanship to scare lawmakers into backing insurance exchange plans. This week, the Republican governor clarified that if lawmakers opt against establishing a state-run exchange with $20.3 million in federal help, the federal government would establish one — all without Medicaid money at risk. Otter, whose initial comment was to reporters on Jan. 5, now says he intended to say: Idaho risks losing federal Medicaid money if it fails to complete a separate system to process Medicaid applications by an October 2013 deadline. That system, called Medicaid Readiness, will help determine whether people are eligible for Medicaid, or if they qualify for subsidized insurance provided through an exchange. “I must have left the impression it was the insurance exchange,” Otter said late Wednesday. “That’s simply not right.” While Medicaid Readiness will be integrated into a state-run or federally-run exchange, it isn’t part of the exchange. And Idaho has every intention of completing Medicaid Readiness, via a $3.48 million appropriation it expects to get through the Department of Health and Welfare’s fiscal year 2013 budget request, said agency director Dick Armstrong. “That’s in the current budget,” Armstrong said. “That’s the match required.” Exchanges were envisioned by the health care reforms as transparent, online marketplaces where individuals and small businesses could compare and shop for coverage. Otter’s Jan. 5 comment suggested the stakes for not setting up a state exchange were high, since a $300 million loss in federal Medicaid money for the poor, elderly and disabled would require a tax increase for Idaho to make up the money. Here are his actual words: “We are at risk in many cases of our present participation levels, which is generally 70-30 on Medicaid,” Otter told reporters, referring to the rate which the federal government provides Medicaid funding relative to Idaho’s share. “By and large, we feel there is a constant threat under the Affordable Health Care Act, that should we not go forward with an insurance exchange, we could see the federal state participation go to a 50-50, instead of a 70-30,” he continued. “The costs of that are upward of $300 million, to the state of Idaho.” Otter’s statement caught House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, by surprise. A former insurance company executive and state-run exchange supporter, Rusche says he almost immediately called the governor’s office for a clarification. Meanwhile, groups fighting an exchange including the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the free-market think tank behind the failed 2011 efforts to nullify Congress’ overhaul, cried foul. Wayne Hoffman, the group’s leader, fired off a letter to Idaho newspapers, contending he’d never heard of anything like what Otter had suggested. “Maybe somebody gave him bad information,” Hoffman said Thursday. “All I know is, we’ve been monitoring this issue since ‘Obamacare’ passed, and we knew there was no connection between the Medicaid matching rate and the state’s decision to implement the exchange or not to implement the exchange.” As the exchange debate intensifies, Otter appears to be distancing himself from what once appeared to be his strong support of using the $20.3 million federal grant for a state-run exchange. Though his Department of Insurance director, Bill Deal, is worried Idaho insurers like Blue Cross and Regence Blue Shield or regional insurer PacificSource could be shut out of participating in a federal version, Otter clearly is monitoring opposition from “Obamacare”-bashing House conservatives intent on rejecting the $20.3 million as he seeks to avoid siding with a measure that may be destined to fail.
Butchie, Butchie, Butchie. Caught in another lie? Oh My!
The vicious cycle of government spendingIn my opinion, most of our leaders aren’t men of integrity but are men willing to serve masters other than the people who elected them. Their progressive goal has turned a once-great nation into a country on the brink of calamity. Just ask yourself how well off we are today? Consider, by design, our nation changed itself from a producing to a service economy since NAFTA. Now we enjoy unbelievable debt, nearly one in five out of work or underemployed, high school and college graduates unable to get jobs, 50 million people on food stamps and even more on other welfare programs, forced health care with special interests receiving waivers, outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, government-sponsored corruption in drugs, energy and other payoffs, sky-high inflation, always agitating for war, and unprecedented immigration (legal and illegal aliens). If we were to allow 3.1 million immigrants (including terrorists) to enter per year plus their U.S. children, it would result in a population increase of well over 120 million by 2050. This will be the fuel that will bring down this nation. Many of these immigrants need assistance, and would not survive without it. When coupled with our own citizens’ plight, how will the government deal with it; science, technology, or take 100 percent of our earnings? Our leaders will deal with it as they have always done — raise the debt ceiling and have the Fed loan them trillions more. Who is going to pay for these loans — me, you? Nope, we haven’t enough of those worthless notes. Even our enemies are reluctant to buy our paper. So will the government solution solve the problem by adding more programs and their trillions of dollars ? Only temporarily, when eventually a starving nation must foreclose and surrender to the globalist cabal. It’s time to stop this stupidity! n Robert B. Murray II, Caldwell
I would like to agree with Robert's doom and gloom predictions, but I just can't. People that throw around statistics that are fuzzy to begin with, i.e., 3.1 immigrants increasing to 120 Million by 2050? Really? Where in the hell are you getting these figures. When you quote stats, please quote the source! Otherwise, I have to believe you picked the numbers out of the air. 50 Million on food stamps? What?
46 Million. Not 50 million. Stop rounding up.
Godamighty I hate fuzzy math and statistics. I see it everywhere and it's really, really disturbing...see below:
‘Ghost’ taxes aren’t really new fundsI maintain that when government collects tax from a worker or private sector corporation, government is “enriched” by real tax monies. But when government taxes a corporation or individual in the government’s employ, those collected funds are ghost taxes. Ghost taxes aren’t new funds; they’re just a decrease in wages or fees paid out. Imagine a society of 1,000 where everyone is a government employee, each earning $1,000 a week, and a 20 percent tax rate. The government has $1 million to pay the first week’s wages, then is broke. After collecting the 20 percent tax, it has $200,000 and can only afford one-fifth the previous workforce. After paying them $200,000 the next week, the government collects only $40,000 in taxes. In a few months, everyone is out of work and the government is permanently broke. To sustain this workforce, $800,000 a year in real taxes must be collected from a completely independent private sector. This private sector is the “Golden Goose” that feeds the whole system. So if you work for city, state or federal government or any company under government contract, your “taxes” aren’t funding our government, you’re merely returning some of the dollars you were paid. In a profitable private sector environment, government may harmlessly suck off surplus profits. But when the private sector is taxed beyond its surplus, the system goes out of balance. As tax-supported workers increase and private-sector true taxpayers decrease, the amount of “ghost” tax dollars increase and “real” tax dollars diminish. We have today passed the point of balance, the deficiency being made up by printing or borrowing money. The result is the destruction of the private sector and inflation, another form of taxation, which kills the Golden Goose. The only solution is smaller government. n Raymond Tate, Nampa
Today [1/13/2012 just to make sure my statistics are correct] in IPT a Mr. Tate made this statistical statement.
He was trying to say...what? We pay too much in taxes? Government employees should all work in the private sector? That we don't pay enough in taxes to pay for the government employees? No, this is what he's trying to prove by this example...
I maintain that when government collects tax from a worker or private sector corporation, government is “enriched” by real tax monies. But when government taxes a corporation or individual in the government’s employ, those collected funds are ghost taxes. Ghost taxes aren’t new funds; they’re just a decrease in wages or fees paid out.
While I might applaud Mr. Tate's idea that we pay a lot in taxes, using this example proves absolutely nothing and is misleading.
First, there is no society where there is 100% government employment and the assumption that there is a 20% 'flat' tax is also faulty. The problem with people who use math or statistics to prove their point, must by necessity have something concrete to back up what they are trying to prove or it is meaningless. All that Mr. Tate does is confuse the reader with mathematical nonsense.