Idaho: Say No to Obamacare

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 in Legislation, News | 0 comments

The following is from a Guest Opinion written by Lawerence Denney and Mike Moyle for The Idaho Statesman.   It originally appeared on July 15, 2012.

With the Supreme Court reaffirming the Constitutionality of the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (i.e., Obamacare), Idaho finds itself in a difficult situation. Should we as a state implement an extremely unpopular federal law that, even in the best of economic times, we cannot afford?

In the coming weeks, there will be mounting pressure on Idaho’s lawmakers to submit to the wishes of those who will benefit most from Obamacare – the insurance companies – to establish a state health insurance exchange. A key provision of Obamacare, state health insurance exchanges, puts the states in a position of implementing – and enforcing the penalty provisions of – this unfunded federal mandate.

When states voluntarily choose to implement and enforce federal law, the line of accountability gets blurred. Under the “employer mandate,” businesses with at least 50 full-time employees will be taxed up to $3,000 per employee for failing to offer mandatory health benefits, but that expense is only levied after its employees receive credits or subsidies to buy insurance through a state health insurance exchange.

As law professor Jonathan Adler and Cato Institute director Michael F. Cannon wrote in USA Today, the employer mandate only kicks in for states that establish their own insurance exchanges. If the federal government creates an exchange in Idaho, for example, it cannot offer credits. No credits; no $3,000 tax on Idaho’s employers …

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