John Livingston News

Those who vote versus The Special Interests

I have lived in Boise for 34 years. During that time, I have had many patients who either were or later entered into politics. Legislators, Mayors, three Governors. Several in that group shared a goose blind together years ago.  Many of us attended daily Mass at St. Alphonsus on the 4th floor at 1200 noon with Fr. Morris Laeter. Recently we had a group reunion and one of the interesting things that was talked about was the act of running for office—what they called “politics” was very different than the act of governing. In the first case you purposefully try to distinguish yourself and separate yourself from your opponent by taking a stand on one of many issues. A stand that is more extreme than your opponent’s thereby creating a difference and a choice for voters. When it comes time to serve you look for commonalities and cooperation and that facilitates a “political regression to the mean”. Being one in the group who had never run for office of any kind I thought that was all crazy. I believe you should run on your principles and govern on the same principles. Maybe you won’t get reelected next time but that really isn’t the point, is it?

Your principles should stay the same. You can negotiate a position on a particular piece of legislation so long as it does not conflict with what you perceive as a “Providential” truth—what Aquinas called a “1st instance. For example there should be no wiggle room for conservatives about the RIGHT TO LIFE and the Right TO PROTECT LIFE—2nd Amendment. Positions about requiring non-Providential applications of principles would require the prudential application of principles—maybe issues about highways, taxes and even education. There is wiggle room.

Conservatives have taken a beating over the years because we argue from the middle when the progressive liberals argue from the extreme left. The solution always seems to be somewhere between the middle and the extreme. For example a conservative may believe that we should balance the budget and set a “cap” on the debt—before we budget. Progressive liberals think we should spend $3.8trillion in stimulus spending—don’t worry about where the money comes from and don’t worry about the debt or inflation. Then some “middle of the road” democrat from West Virginia comes along and says let’s just spend $1.8 trillion and everybody is happy including the Republicans who have avoided a fight, but thrown their principles—what they ran on when they were “politicking”, away. When our two Senators voted for the infrastructure spending were they a) capitulating, b)regressing to the mean, c) standing on principle, or d) just playing politics and courting favor with a lobbyist who will help finance their campaign and who will pay for TV and radio adds the next day in the local markets. Ans. Follow the money and don’t count on your elected officials applying either prudent or Providential principles with their vote. Always follow the money—in Washington DC or Boise Idaho. Check to see who pays for elected officials to attend the Governor’s Cup and who funds their campaigns. Same thing with our DC representatives. Who vacations in a lobbyist’s beach house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland?

And remember the positions that conservative Republicans took in 2010. They supported the ideals found in the 10th Amendment regarding States Rights and Federalism. 12 years later Democrats are proposing as part of the $3.8trillion “infrastructure” bill a proposal to have Medicaid coverage for childless adults. Already one in four people in our country are covered by Federal Health Insurance programs—Tricare, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Employees Health Care and Indian Health Services. When Governor Otter asked me to serve on the YHI Health Insurance Exchange I felt that the exchange would provide a temporary backstop for people during a recession—unemployment was at 9.2%, and instead of families going on Medicaid, they could continue to work and receive subsidized health care. Today a family of 4 making over $125,000 is eligible for subsidies on the exchanges. The Feds send these subsidies directly to the Insurance Companies—just as they plan to do with the new plan covering single adults without children. How are these subsidies raised?—taxes, paid for by people who over the past 10 years have seen their health insurance premiums double or triple along with co-pays and deductibles. Since 2014 the value of the stock in publicly traded health insurance companies has doubled the growth of the S&P and DOW. The taxpayers should see part of that ROI (return on investment).

Christ Troupis Book

Prior to the ACA (Obama Care) there were 48million people without health insurance. Today that number is 21million—not counting illegal immigrants, asylees, and refuges—there is a difference you know. And care and access have become more problematic to patients—not better as advertised. Only 70% of providers accept new Medicaid patients and OB/GYN physicians are 20% less likely to accept new mothers into their practices in expansion states.  Early in the expansion of Medicaid it was recognized in both Oregon and Massachusetts that outcomes between patients covered by Medicaid and those not covered at all were the same.

There are better ways to help patients in need of care. After $10 trillion dollars we have not improved access to care, we have not improved care, “you cannot keep your doctor or keep your plan”. I wrote an article in 2014 that with the merger of health care systems, aggregate supply of services would go down and with Medicaid expansion and aggregate demand would go up—both happened as predicted increasing the cost of health care, as predicted—while at the same time we have seen massive increases in revenue of the large hospital systems and insurance carriers—all paid for by working people who pay taxes and are paying higher insurance premiums.

I would like our next Governor to opt out of Medicaid Expansion. I would like that person to commit to having any organization that receives over $100 million of government transfer payments be required to undergo an independent outside signed partners audit to be made available to the people of Idaho on an annual bases via their representatives in the legislature—I include premium payments to insurance carriers from the Feds as a transfer payment.

I would like to see a similar audit of the Department of Health and Welfare.

If Brad Little gets reelected, I don’t think any of this will happen. The cronies at the IHA/IMA/IACI/Al’s and Luke’s will do all they can not to let this happen. They are the ones who are the recipients of all this largesse. They are the ones who are funding the campaigns of the RHINOs. A new Governor would be like Trump going to Washington in 2016. The establishment is scared crazy about what will be uncovered in these audits. Only the people—constituents, voters, patients, and families will benefit. It has really all come down in Idaho to those who vote (We The People) and those who pay for the campaigns and go to the Governor’s Cup.

Who will be the “Donald Trump” for Idaho? MIGA (Make Idaho Great Again)!

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