Editor's note: The following is an open letter to the Republican governor of the state of Iowa, Terry Branstad.
Fifteen states have passed laws (three by constitutional amendment) to ensure that citizens of their states maintain the freedom to pursue private health care, rather than be forced into a massive, Canadian-style, government medical scheme.
Although ultimately rejected by the state senate, 60 percent of the Iowa state representatives passed the following bill: "No law shall restrict a person's natural right and power to secure the blessings of liberty to choose private health-care systems or private health-care plans. No law shall interfere with the right of a person or entity to pay for lawful medical services to preserve life or health, and no law shall impose a penalty, tax, fee or fine, of any type, for declining or failing to contract for health-care coverage or for declining or failing to participate in any particular health-care system or plan."
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Ignoring this congressional proposal, which is also the overwhelming sentiment of your party members, Governor, you have agreed to set up a state-funded portal to the "Obamacare" exchanges. Instead of protecting our citizens from yet another tax, the "state exchange" will virtually guarantee that citizens (rapidly becoming subjects) will be penalized financially for declining government-imposed health-care mandates. This essentially says, "You Iowans no longer have the right to freely choose to take care of yourselves as responsible adults with regards to health care. You must let us do it for you."
What ever happened to our state that still proudly proclaims on its flag, "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain." Hollow words today.
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Perhaps you were duped. Perhaps you were told that, if the state "ran its own exchange" you would have more control. But in fact, state exchanges are not "state run," they are simply "state funded" after the first year. So, in one fell swoop you have given away state control, citizens' rights and God knows how many tax dollars to this massive federal nightmare.
We already bleed jobs to South Dakota where there is no state income tax. Now we will see corporations relocate from Iowa to those states that have repudiated the state exchanges. The reason is obvious to anyone in business. If I have more than 50 employees, and the state sets up the exchange, then I must buy exactly the government-specified plan (Affordable Care Act, or ACA, "qualified health plans") or be subject to fines and penalties of two to three thousand dollars per employee, or $100 a day. Even if I correctly set up such a plan, all it takes is one employee to drop out and purchase a subsidized plan, and I will be subject to these fines. If the federal government sets up the exchanges, these penalties cannot be levied.
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ACA-qualified plans, the ones I will be forced to buy, specify the maximum deductible, the premium and the coverage – and of course this mandates coverage for contraception and the "morning after pill" – items many Iowa business owners find morally objectionable and should not be forced to pay for.
Congratulations. By setting up state exchanges you are personally sponsoring abortion coverage in the state. Iowans may be all over the board philosophically on this issue, but no one should be forced to act against their conscience.
According to Michael Cannon of the CATO Institute, the administrative costs of running the exchange will be 20-40 million dollars per year. And the federal government is only paying for start-up costs and one year of operations. After that, the citizens of Iowa will be footing the bill, as well as shouldering the paperwork nightmare. When this kicks in, your state employees will be tasked with checking everyone's plans, their incomes, their banking information and any other "compliance" issue the feds may want. Des Moines will be filled with ACA "capos" doing our overlord's bidding.
So, Governor Branstad, it is time to just say, "No." It is one thing to be forced into slavery. It is quite another for you to wield the whip over your fellow citizens. Go out and re-read the state flag – "Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain."