John Livingston

Now is the Time to be Faithful

Hope springs eternal in Garden City this Christmas season. The celebration of the birth and promise fulfilled by the Baby Jesus will always sustain us no matter the challenges that the secular temporal world can put before us. We must never lose hope for the future. WE know the “rest of the story”. As Mother Teresa has advised us “WE are called on not to be successful, but to be faithful”.

On the political front in Idaho one of my biggest hopes is that with a new Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives and with many new faces in that chamber, we will be able to confront the Executive-Administrative State that has evolved since Governor Otter’s second term. The symbiotic corporatism between government agencies in the executive branch, lobbyists, and politicians in all branches of government (including political judges), needs to be confronted, exposed, and fixed before our state government looks like what we have seen for two generations in our large cities where Democrat mayors have ruled the roost, and the “WE THE PEOPLE” pay tribute to the ruling class just to exist and subsist.

If Mr. Moyle chooses to confront the status quo he will be confronted by establishment forces and special interests that are formidable. If he chooses to walk the “political tight rope”, his destiny will be to follow in the legacy of MASS CONFORMATION BIAS of Mr. Behdke. The status quo in Idaho politics and in the Idaho Republican Party that answers to the likes of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI), the Idaho Hospital-Medical Association (IHA-IMA) and the Idaho Education Association (IEA), and not to citizens, needs to be put back in their proper positions—behind the people.

Let me suggest a place to start if we are going to confront “special interests”. Let’s begin with the Department of Health and Welfare in our State. First, it is too big to manage properly. There should be two departments—Health and Welfare. There should be outside forensic audits of the Medicaid system in our State. When Federal subsidies are counted, the Department is asking to distribute $4.6 billion—almost 45% of the State budget. Idaho has been identified as being one of the most fraudulent States in the country when it comes to enrollments and billing fraud by providers, most notably “up-coding” for services. One in five Medicaid beneficiaries is today ineligible using Federal poverty level standards according to the Foundation for Government Accountability. In Idaho that number most likely is higher. The Families First Covid Response Act increased Medicaid Federal funding to the States if they don’t kick ineligible Medicaid beneficiaries off their roles and until the public health emergency is no longer in effect. What comes first? The chicken (increased Medicaid dollars) or the egg (increased hospital revenues and CEO salaries)? It depends if you are the “chicken or the egg” or if one sits on an “advisory board”, or if you are a patient or employer who is seeing your health care insurance costs go up, or if you are a politician receiving campaign contributions from the hospital lobbyists or the hospital systems themselves.

Providers—especially non-profits with CEO’s making $18million/2yrs need to voluntarily provide independent signed partner audits to the people’s representatives in the legislature on an annual basis. Interestingly we never had a hospital CEO in our State who made $18million/2yrs until after Medicaid Expansion! Two friends of mine who were Catholic Sister CEOs at St. Al’s—Sister Patricia Vandenberg and Sister Patricia Mulvaney received no salary for their service. Making $18million in two years for a hospital CEO is not “serving” the community but serving something else. In my most humble opinion, the Board at that hospital (not Al’s) should be embarrassed and held accountable with an audit as a condition for further payments. Especially when such transfer payments are “fungible” and there is anything but transparency in their distribution.

It will be difficult for our legislators to confront the Medical/ Hospital establishment especially when many of their campaigns are funded by those organizations. It will also be difficult to confront the Medical/hospital establishment when they hold positions of power in the executive branch like serving on the Governor’s Covid advisory committee. Maybe that is why our Governor did not consult with the legislature prior to initiating or continuing his emergency order.

To receive Federal Medicaid funds our State is required to comply with Mr. Biden’s Federal emergency order that is not due to expire until next April. I guess hospital boards will be increasing the salaries of CEOs until the Federal order expires. Who is benefiting from the transfer payments sent from Washington to be distributed by the States? Patients or hospital administrators? Corruption doesn’t have to be illegal. It can be legal, hurtful, destructive, and evil without being illegal.

Mr. Speaker: “If not now when… If not you—who?” If you, Mr. Speaker choose to fight corruption in State Government, I promise you my 100% support.

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