Letters to the editor from this week's Chronicle:

Dear Editor;
I feel that I need to explain why I oppose the state health exchange supported by Governor Otter and many in the medical community including health insurance companies.  This issue passed the House and will come to the Senate later in the week.
I believe that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obama Care, will dominate political discussions for years to come.  A health exchange is needed to implement the ACA.  The ACA cannot be implemented without an exchange.  The ACA will not improve access to care, reduce costs, or empower the people.  The ACA implements a new entitlement program that the United States cannot afford economically or culturally.
An entitlement is a transfer of wealth from those that created the wealth to another class of citizens that have not created the wealth in the name of charity and fairness.  (Wealth must be created before it can be consumed or redistributed.  The federal government seems to have forgotten this reality.)
Entitlements create dependency and discourage independency and work
Entitlements change the culture from production and self-sufficiency to consumption and dependency
I cannot voluntarily support a bill that creates another entitlement.  I have several fears:
1. The ACA is funded on deficits, tax increases, and cuts to Medicare
2. The ACA will increase medical costs, harm the economy, and reduce job growth
3. I fear the exchange is an infringement upon individuals rights
a. Self-incrimination; in order to buy a subsidized medical policy a citizen will have to supply any relevant personal information.  If the citizen does not answer, a subsidy will not be available.
b. Concerns with future questions about gun ownership.  If the question is not answered truthfully, the person could be guilty of perjury.  If the person answers truthfully, a subsidy will not be available.
c. This leads to concerns to privacy and freedom of conscience
d. The protection of property is in jeopardy with the increased ability of government to remove wealth in the form of taxes from one individual and give it to another.
I cannot express all of my concerns in this short article.  I do believe there is a path forward in the face of this law.  First, reject the state exchange.  Second, do everything possible so that Idaho citizens do not need to go to the federal exchange.  This will allow Idahoans who do not believe in the ACA to boycott the ACA.  Third, develop policies that reform the medical industry such as funded Health Savings Accounts, non-conforming insurance policies, and reform of the Medicaid system.  I will try to address some of those options in the future.
Senator Steven Thayn
District 8

I oppose the federal government’s Affordable Care Act and any attempt to implement it in Idaho because the cost of agreeing to government tyranny would be devastating. It is a federal power grab and an intrusion on individual privacy. Idaho should resist being a subcontractor to Obamacare and more reckless federal spending.
Obamacare and its outrageous expense will cripple our economy, plus it is another attempt by the federal government to take over our civil liberties. Idaho should refuse to implement the ACA and reject establishing an exchange. It is in the best interest of Idaho to keep resisting this law in every way. It’s important to show state sovereignty.
The trouble with a state vs. a federal health exchange is that it doesn’t place the state in control – a state exchange has to comply with the same rules as a federal one. What these bills really do is increase government control at the expense of personal choice, freedom and responsibility. People must be responsible for planning their own lives. The government has tricked many people into thinking it has the responsibility or authority to plan and control our lives.
Human sovereignty defined the American Revolution, not the empowerment of an absolute government. The U.S. Supreme Court has reminded states that they are “separate” and “independent: and asked them to “act like it.” The Supreme Court has ruled that “The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance,” so why would I support implementing a state exchange?
We are told we can either create a state health insurance exchange ourselves or we can fall under a federal exchange. The health insurance lobby wants you to believe that implementing a state insurance exchange is the preferred slution for complying with the federal mandate. I support a free market approach run by the people – not the government – and that will save our freedom and billions of dollars.
The Idaho Republican Party has take a stand against this exchange yet Gov. Butch Otter continues to refuse to stand strong within his own party and at least 25 other states that are opposing this law. I am disappointed in the governor’s decision to support this.
I plan to stand against this legislation. Agreeing to the proposed Idaho legislation is consenting to Obamacare and I can’t do that to the great people of Idaho. I will support state sovereignty. I will support the Idaho Republican Party. And I will support individual freedom by voting “NO.”
Rep. Paul Shepherd
District 7

To the Editor
"Budget cuts..." headline in Saturday's Lewiston Tribune, and an excellent letter by Mark Vuchetich in the March 14 Tribune should cause all of us to laugh almost at the crazy reasoning by our current administration, headed up by President Obama.
First some facts! The 87 billion sequester "cut" is not a cut at all, but only a reduction in a proposed 3.5 trillion plus budget for the new year. The actual budget admittedly will be up from the year before even after the "cut."
And simple calculator math tells us that 87 billion divided by 3.5+ trillion is only about a 2% reduction in the increased spending! Well, Whoopee! And we have been told that the "cut" will not all take place now..., some of it will only kick in in 2015! 
As Mark notes, "Lewiston schools may lose $100,000..., Fish and Game get whacked, Head Start headlined a potential $200,000 reduction, tours to the White House ended (Maybe!), a "5% impact on Head Start programs across the country," and on and on the doomsday predictions! 
Hey! We peons know that gas prices, grocery prices, even stamps from 45 to 46 cents (also a 2% rise), all make the sequester "cut" laughingly small when compared to our increased  costs! Why my social security increase of $26 only amounts to about a 1.5%! And paychecks? Increased withholding has hit net pay also! So it seems that only we citizens are capable of absorbing lost income, while our bloated government whines over a 2% decrease in a known increased budget! Cry me a river, government!!!
Jerry (Jake) Wren

Ag Day 2013 Tribute to Farmers and Ranchers

I speak for the people working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We all are proud to be partners with the men and women who farm and ranch in Idaho. Agriculture is an honorable profession and we are honored to do our part to help. We salute you on Ag Day, March 19. 
“Generations Nourishing Generations” is the theme for this year’s Ag Day. Our country’s farmers and ranchers work hard to provide food and clothing for our country and the world. Their dedication is an inspiration to us and to the next generation of farmers and ranchers.  Without them, we would not have the abundant food supply, the fiber, and the fuel we depend on daily.
Agriculture involves sacrifice.  As a youngster on the farm, the most immediate sacrifice noticed is sleep. Getting up early and working hard until sundown is not something that always comes easy…it usually has to be learned…from your parents or your grandparents.
That sacrifice continues as you grow. Or if you start to farm later in life, you encounter it immediately when you take charge of your operation… long, hard hours, dripping sweat in the soil and taking a risk when needed to doctor an animal, weld an implement or finance next year’s planting. 
According to recent USDA studies, the agricultural sector right now remains a bright spot in terms of economic stability and growth and there is a strong demand for U.S. agricultural products. Generation after generation of agricultural producers in Idaho are getting up early every day to keep this sector of the economy healthy, providing jobs and income for both rural and urban families and communities.
In 1960 each U.S. farmer provided food for about 25 people. Today, each U.S. farmer feeds more than 144 people, an increase of over 500%.  Research and new technologies have boosted production, but someone still has to go outdoors and make things grow. Without regard for the wind, rain, snow, freeze, fire and drought…the farmer and the ranchers can be found tending the crops, flock or herd, and doing it well.  Even with last season’s severe weather and natural disasters, American farmers and ranchers have still prevailed to get the food and fuel to market.
Let’s thank these men and women for a job well done.  Agriculture is America’s number one export, and critical to sustaining a healthy economy. 
Frankly, it's easy to take agriculture for granted in America. Our food is readily accessible and very safe. For this, we're unbelievably fortunate . . . but that doesn't mean we don't have an obligation to recognize who makes it possible. 
This National Ag Day on March 19 is a good time to reflect - and be grateful for - American agriculture! To find more Ag Day information and events, visit the sponsoring Agricultural Council of American at www.agday.org. 
Julie Fowler 
Acting County Executive Director
Idaho County FSA

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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