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Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – Feb. 15

February 17th, 2016 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

It seems like that around this place you don’t have to set about generating controversy, it just happens to naturally find you. It was one of those weeks where several things came to the forefront that are being talked about continuously either in the press or by way of email streams coming to legislators.

Medicaid expansion is being talked a lot about but not so much among my colleagues. Now we find ourselves looking at what Governor Otter is calling a primary care model that would provide some care for the “gap population.” While it does not provide for full coverage in the same way that Medicaid would, it is thought that people in that population would at least be able to get affordable primary health care in an effort to stave off more serious conditions. We should soon have an idea whether that will fly around here. As for Medicaid expansion, there does not seem to be a whole lot of appetite to do that at the present time. As I’ve said before my only regret is that we are not willing to at least learn the ins and outs of Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid expansion has its good side and it’s not so good side. I was having a conversation with a constituent last week about how counties are required to cover at least the emergency portion of treatment for the “gap population.” The response was interesting because the biggest objection was that the county could put a lien on your assets in an effort to recoup whatever sums have been spent on your behalf. A little known or at least not much talked about provision in Medicaid is that your assets are automatically liened if you are a recipient of the program. The letter you get from the Department of Health and Welfare goes something like this: “Dear ________, We wish to express our condolences for the loss of your loved one. We hereby give you notice of claim against the estate of that individual.” That doesn’t sound a lot different than the county’s program except you will be dealing with the federal government rather than your local county commissioners.

Constitutional Carry, a.k.a. permitless concealed carry, is generating more than its share of comments about getting a hearing this year. I suggested that since the Senate is probably the biggest hurdle for them to cross that they should start the bill there instead of in the House. That has resulted in a series of emails that have not been exactly complementary. A few of those communiqu├ęs have been downright vulgar and some threatening. What makes it even worse is that these individuals will not identify who they are and where they live or include a phone number so that you could call them back. Those who have called and conversed with me at least understand that at the present time there is no bill and that it would be better if they get the legislation through the Senate first.

When it comes to issues that seem to have at least an element of controversy attached to them, all concerned need to realize that there is always another side of the story. Name calling and the lack of civility is not a recommended way to get things done here or anywhere else for that matter. What is that old saying about honey and vinegar? And since we have just celebrated Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, a quote from him might be appropriate. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

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