Yes, Idaho. There is a Santa Claus. At least that is the line Marty Trillhaase was selling newspapers with last week.

Trillhaase and his fellow socialists have sold Medicaid expansion as a money-saving bonanza. Trillhaase and friends make it sound like all of the bills will magically be paid just as soon as Idaho opens the door to Medicaid expansion. Just read Trillhaase’s article. “Were Medicaid expansion in place then, it would have covered $328,000 of those bills” and then this, “Medicaid expansion would have provided $400,000.” Does anyone see a problem here? These statements make it sound like Santa Claus is going to cover the costs.

Over and over, the voters of this state hire conservative legislators to educate themselves with the facts, hold hearings and then provide services that “the people” can afford. Having served three terms on the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, I can speak to the diligence and dedication of committee members seeking to find solutions.

Back when I chaired the Senate Health and Welfare Committee in 2003-2004, we were constantly looking to see how we could provide more services. Does Trillhaase really think that if additional services could be provided at no cost increase, the conservative Legislature would not jump on it?

Let’s be clear here: We are talking about the first step to a single-payer (government), socialized medical system.

The proposition method, while clearly allowed in Idaho’s Constitution, is not binding.

Similarly, an advisory vote requested by county commissioners is not binding.

Our letter represented what the voters of our county expressed at the ballot box. Yes, it was just a letter from “little” Idaho County — certainly not wielding enough power to turn the socialized medicine train around. Regardless, the letter was sent conveying our concerns about this process. The last time I checked, letter writing is still allowed in Idaho. And, of course, Trillhaase can’t argue against that freedom — he’d be out of a job without it.

Folks, there is no Santa Claus, no magical way Medicaid expansion is not going to cost something.

Our Legislature will have to think long and hard about what other state-supported services will be cut in order to pay the bills for those additional 62,000 people. Will it be education that gets cut? Suicide prevention? The long-term consequences will need to be weighed, as a system like this cannot be sustained over time.

And then what? Brace yourself for the dumbed-down medical system and limited services for all that other countries with socialized medicine experience.

I believe hard working Idahoans deserve better.

With regards to the Idaho County commissioners having the audacity to ask our citizens their opinion about additional wilderness and wild and scenic rivers — well, stay tuned.

Brandt is a member of the Idaho County Commission. He resides in Kooskia.

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