Higher Taxes and Insurance Premiums: “Who to Thank”

I’m sad to say that Steve Ackerman and I were right about healthcare and insurance because it telling us that cronyism and collusion are alive and well in Idaho in the medical and insurance industry.

Although we predicted many of these things that are now coming to light, my question is why in heavens name couldn’t the Governor and our legislators see what we could see so clearly. Could it be that their judgement was clouded by campaign contributions from medical and insurance industry lobbyists?

The reason is that the lobbyists greased the wheels with our legislators and made sure that the people of Idaho were going to help the hospitals and insurance companies make lots of money by forcing a State Healthcare Exchange on the people of Idaho.

We have very little competition in Idaho as to where you can go to get quality healthcare and insurance to pay for it, and that is a problem with our government allowing this to happen. There have been plenty of opportunities to rectify this situation, but they chose to ignore them. We have no transparency with hospital costs and little competition. The same is true for the health insurance companies.

It is about time that the liberal media actually did some journalistic investigating, and thanks to a great article by Audrey Dutton of the Statesman we now know what was going on behind the curtain of the courts in the suit filed by St. Al’s and Treasure Valley Hospitals against St. Luke’s and the Saltzer Medical Group.

Seems like our charitable hospital St. Luke’s has been controlling the pricing on different procedures in different hospitals they own. If you had a knee replacement done in St. Luke’s, it would cost $76,000, but in Twin Falls it was only $59,000 because of the rates they negotiated with the insurance companies.

There is little or no transparency when it comes to hospital procedures and this has to change just like we need more competition in our choice of hospital facilities and access to more healthcare insurance competition. Idahoans were told that if the State Healthcare exchange was accepted by the legislature, we would get cheaper rates and better coverage. Well neither has happened, and in fact this year rates are going up 25 to 30% in premiums and 25% for exchange fees.

The Governor and our Legislators got us into this mess and it is up to them to get us out of it. What seems to have slipped their mind is that the median household income for a family of four in our state is a bit over $46,000. Take away 23 to 27% in taxes and that leaves you with $35,500 available to take care of your family’s needs.

If overall premiums rise 25% this year the average family’s insurance could go from contributing $3,598 per year to $4,498. Meaning your insurance costs will go from 7.8% of your income to 9.7% of your income. If you buy from the exchange, the cost would be approximately the same depending on if you receive a tax credit. This will leave you with $31,000 for the rest of your family’s needs.

Does anyone understand why the economy stinks when 35% of your earnings are sucked up by taxes and insurance premiums? On top of that our legislators and Governor saw fit to give us a 7 cent per gallon increase in our gasoline tax and higher registration fees. These are the same legislators who will ask you to vote for them next year.

Here we would like to present the Idaho Legislative Hall of Shame

House members that cost you more in gas taxes and insurance premiums.

Reps. Neil Anderson, Robert Anderst, , Scott Bedke, Maxine Bell, Merrill Beyeler, Van Burtenshaw, Sue Chew, Lance Clow, Gary Collins, Mat Erpelding, Marc Gibbs, Stephen Hartgen, Brandon Hixon, Wendy Horman, Clark Kauffman, Phylis King, Hy Kloc, Luke Malek, John McCrostie, Steve Miller, Kelley Packer, Donna Pence, Christy Perry, Dell Raybould, Paul Romrell, Ilana Rubel, John Rusche, Jeff Thompson, Julie VanOrden, Rich Wills, , Fred Wood and Rick Youngblood. Jim Patrick, Jim Rice, Dan Schmidt, Jeff Siddoway, Michelle Stennett, John Tippets, Janie Ward-Engelking

Senate members that cost you more in gas taxes and insurance.

Steve Bair, Bert Brackett, Cherie Buckner-Webb, Dean Cameron, Bart Davis, , Jim Guthrie, Lee Heider, Brent Hill, Shawn Keough, Roy Lacey, Todd Lakey, Patti Anne Lodge, Fred Martin, Jim Patrick, Jeff Siddoway, Lee Heider, Jim Guthrie,

Special thanks to Sens. Steven Thayn and Marv Hagedorn who voted against the 7 cent gas tax hike, but they previously voted for an even bigger tax and fee package that failed.

You will find that most of these legislators claim to be conservative, but their voting records show quite the opposite. You should know how your representatives vote so we are giving you a tool to use to gauge their voting. Here is a link to the Idaho Freedom Foundation Accountable Idaho showing the voting records and their scores for the 2015 legislative session.

Gem State Patriot News