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Refusing to go along

Rep. Janet Trujillo
February 14, 2013
Idaho Falls Post Register

Chief Justice John Roberts: "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices."

On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The justices ruled that the so-called individual mandate is a tax that Congress can impose on Americans. Chief Justice Roberts stated the legitimacy of Spending Clause legislation, however, depends on whether a state voluntarily and knowingly accepts the terms of such programs.

Many who support the state health care insurance exchange have erroneously argued that it is a "states' rights" issue. The fact of the matter is that the states must abide by literally 1,500 pages of federal guidelines and regulations in "Obamacare" in order to set up a federally accepted state exchange. The states stand to maintain no right but simply to aid in the implementation and administering of this great government overreach into the personal decisions of business and the private citizen.

The states are given the dangling carrot of federal funding in order to set up and implement the state health care exchanges. However, this federal funding is temporary and will be progressively shifted to the states in the years to follow.

We are in tough economic times where states have to do their best in order to maintain local budgets, tighten belts and make sure that their revenues are allocated responsibly. There are many state departments calling for additional funding such as education, transportation and so on. What are we going to do when the federal funding for health care declines, as is mandated in the federal health care bill, and an ever bigger portion of our scarce state funds must be shifted to make up for the difference?

Senate Bill 1042 proposes a 16-member board with no legislative oversight. This board would operate outside of the constitutional authority of our elected government. The board will be implementing taxes and making decisions that affect every citizen of the state of Idaho. In our representative government, we elect our legislative and executive government and they are accountable to the voters in each election. Who will this board be accountable to?

Health care costs have already skyrocketed simply in anticipation of Obamacare. The cost solutions are not found in aiding the federal government in the biggest overstretch of government authority in our lifetime by setting up a state exchange. There are simply too many variables unknown with rules being written and changed daily. The only way to advance states' rights on this issue is to exercise our right to say no to the state exchange.

I cannot voluntarily and knowingly accept the terms of such a program.

Trujillo is serving her first term in the Idaho House of Representatives from District 33. She is a Republican from Idaho Falls.

Originally posted at

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