Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Know when to fold ’em

The poker game's over and Idaho lost, but some legislators still want to play hold 'em.

Idaho was the first state to decide to sue the federal government to overturn the Affordable Health Care Act, something this relatively poor state could ill afford. Even so, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter agreed with the Legislature and required the state attorney general to sue.

When the act passed muster before the U.S. Supreme Court recently, the state lost the last possible reason to delay implementing online health insurance exchanges, essentially online comparison shopping malls for health insurance, required by the act. But the high court's decision is getting little respect from Idaho lawmakers who're acting like frustrated, balky mules.

When state Insurance Director Bill Deal told a legislative task force looking at the issue that the state may have delayed too long to meet a deadline to establish a state-controlled exchange and that Idaho may have to settle for one that's federally run, some lawmakers suggested the feds simply would have to extend the deadline.

Another suggested that piling on and forcing the federal government to implement all state exchanges would slow down implementation of the act so much that opponents would have time to find another way to sink it.

The Affordable Health Care Act is the law of the land. Would a new Congress and a new president change that? Maybe. But that won't make the need to reform health care disappear, and the act is the nation's best chance to date to do that.

It's time to fold 'em, walk away and get on to more useful pursuits.

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