City Government

Boise Weighs In On Health Care

Mayor Bieter and Team Dave need a lesson in priorities. They snubbed the GUARDIAN town hall meeting on ambulance service, but weigh in on a national political health issue.

They still haven’t had any public discussion on Boise FD ambulances!

The only city operated area of “Health Care” that comes to mind for the GUARDIAN is the recently started DeTox center for druggies and drunks in lieu of jail.

While that is a noble effort and something needed in these modern times, we are baffled by the recent local furor over a national health plan, including an official “resolution” from city hall.

Here is what city council candidate Dan Dunham had to say: “As a city council candidate, I want to remind Mr. Mayor that your job deals with our city. You should be concerned with the local economy, local housing issues, the city budget, and ways that you can actually affect the quality of life for city residents.

When I am elected to the city council, I will not support this kind of “NOT IN MY JOB DISCRIPTION” waste of city resources. My only hope is that the national attention you seek will be as good as the attention you gave to public testimony tonight.”

While resolutions may seem harmless since they have no force and effect in law, they are used as political and public relations gimmicks to “send a message” that a group (city council, legislature, etc.) favor or approve an issue or person.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. This was a perfect example of how hypocritical our Mayor is. I watched him – twice on two different news channels – talking about how health care reform was needed because the city has to cut departmental budgets to fund their health care costs increases. But, he wants to spend more money – millions upon millions – that the city doesn’t have on a streetcar that will never pay for itself and run in the red forever.

  2. Really? Doesn’t the city have other things that they have direct effect on that they can spend their time on? Spending time dealing with an issue (albeit important) that they have little control over is a waste. Councilpeople-Deal with the local issues and opine in your blogs about issues outside your direct control. Smells like Bieter is using his office to potentially set the stage for a higher office.

  3. Dr Spiegelvogel
    Sep 16, 2009, 10:10 am

    DaveCo flubbed this one is two ways: trying to run the resolution without public comment until local talker Nate Shelman called the troops to city hall where he was broadcasting. Council then moved the action to a public comment agenda.

    Second, even though President Obama has indicated the public option is not necessary in a bill, the resolution included support for one. If the public option had been taken out, one more member would have voted for the resolution.

    The depth of feeling about health care was evident from those who made a statement. However, the breadth or representatation of Boise voters was limited as most attendees were conservative radio listeners, called to the bunkers by Mr Shelman.

    The Council did add tort reform to the resolution as input from the public.

    A case can be made that the resolution does reflect the position of a majority of Boise voters where heavily Democratic precincts dominate.

  4. If you like Obamacare, you’ll love Maryanne Jordan. She’s the only candidate running for office that voted for the Universal Healthcare resolution. In work session she contradicted Dave Bieter saying, “This is clearly a city issue.” Bieter at least acknowledged that it is not really a part of his job description. I don’t know which is more disturbing in our leadership: blind leftist partisanship of Jordan (who fails to understand the proper role of city officials), or the willful determination of Bieter to push Obama’s agenda on Boise?

  5. I wrote the Mayor and Council asking them to kill this stupid idea. The overwhelming majority of the public comment was against it yet they voted for it…The more I see of city government everywhere the more I am convinced any public comment is simply a sham and a waste of time. I have never seen any council change their already set minds based on public comment, ever.

  6. I agree this is fairly silly but at least the only waste of money was the time drafting this resolution. Not much come from these and I do not think Boise’s voice will sway the vote one way or another in D.C.

    I am surprised that Shealy voted against this resolution. The daily did not say why. Did Shealy make a statement?

  7. I’m a big fan of the public option and I’m glad a leader in Idaho finally brought some badly needed attention to it. If any of you have a better plan for cutting health care costs I’d like to hear it. Tort reform has never saved us money in the past, why do you think it will in the future? It amounts to a pittance of the total paid in health care costs. Insurance companies will merely pocket the savings, like they did before.

    And I daresay, Jim, that if the city of Boise was given a vote on the public option or health care reform it would pass overwhelmingly despite your shout down rallies.

    I also thought the resolution itself set forth quite forcefully the need for the city to give voice to this cause:

    “Whereas, America’s cities and towns collectively constitute the nation’s fourth-largest employer and as such are providing health care coverage to millions of their employees, retirees and their families, at a cost that has risen nearly 120 percent over the past 10 years, more than triple the rate of inflation; and

    WHEREAS, the City of Boise’s geographic remoteness and our high rate of employer turnover make us especially vulnerable to the inadequacies of the current health care system, which can dampen the entrepreneurial activity that is so vital to our community’s economic well-being.”

  8. Now that an ox is being gored close to home, here ya’ll come!!
    This mayor hasn’t changed one bit in the last 5 years.(Unless you count the public speaking 101 class he paid Cecil’s lobbying firm almost $5,000 for a couple of years ago)
    I am pleased to know that Nate Shelman has that kind of power over the citizens. The next thing we will hear is that they were just a “bunch of far right, christian, extremists, and don’t really speak for the citizens!!!!)
    Oh well…. better late to the party than not coming at all!!
    It isn’t like you weren’t warned about this maniac!

  9. “maniac!”–whoa, Cyclops, chill. Bieter didn’t win by all that much. I’m sure you and Nate can rally the teabaggers and make the gap. It worked well for Brandi. In the meantime keep up on the meds.

    And yeah my ox has been gored. I’ve spent the last couple weeks in and out of hospitals, doctor’s offices, imaging locations, and physical therapists. I’ve got insurance and I’m wondering how I’m going to pay for this.

  10. Fair enough Sisyphus.
    Halt ongoing health care to illegals! Patch em up in an emergency room and ship them home!
    Tort reform. Nothing “meaningful” has ever been adopted because neither the Dems, or Repubs, want to take on the trial lawyers.
    Allow Insurance companies to do business across state lines, opening up more competition. Stop hospitals from buying “replacement parts” for $4200.00 and then re-selling it to patients for $15,000.00. And, if there is indeed hundreds of billions of abuse to the health system, quit talking about it and go solve it TODAY!!! There are many more solutions, but chew on these for a start!

  11. Hope you are Happy
    Sep 16, 2009, 10:03 pm

    I hope all of you that voted for the Mayor and current city council members are happy…

    Boise will now be listed in government publications, advertisments, and other marketing material as “in favor of and supporting ObamaCare”.

    So those of you that voted for these people who clearly have little or no desire to represent the public you should be happy.

    You really do get what you vote for.

  12. Everyone who thinks universal healthcare isn’t a local issue isn’t paying attention. The uninsured and the under-insured don’t visit the doc when they’ve got the sniffles; they wait for it to become an emergency. Dr. Lou Schlickman, a Meridian internist, put it very aptly in this weeks Boise Weekly, “You got asthma, you get a cold, you don’t go get treated, you don’t take your inhalers, you end up with bronchitis, you think you’ll get over it, you can’t see the doctor, you don’t want to go wait six hours in the ER. The next thing you know, you’ve got pneumonia; you’re just about dead and the ambulance gets you, takes you to the ER, puts you on a vent, you’re in the ICU for two weeks. That costs $50,000 to $100,000. If we just would have paid for that person to have primary care, they could have been fixed long ago—when they just got bronchitis—in the doctor’s office for $50. And who pays for the $50 for that person who can’t do it themselves? The public. And who pays for that $50,000 when they can’t do it for themselves? The public. So the public should be able to decide, do I want to pay $50,000 or do I want to pay $50.”

    When St. Als or St. Lukes gets stuck with that $50,000 bill, everyone pays for it, one way or another. We’re already paying for healthcare for the uninsured and the under-insured; I would like to see us pay for it in the most cost-effective way possible. I am perfectly willing to help shoulder the cost of healthcare for every single homeless person, illegal immigrant and criminal in this country if it means that when my 4 year old daughter or my 2 year old son gets sick I don’t have to worry, “Can I afford this? Are they really sick enough to see a doctor? Should I wait a few days? What if it’s something serious?”

  13. Lucas, Lee and i will represent the people. We will welcome you to city hall to tell us what you are thinking. We will make things more transparent and accessible. We will serve to reduce spending, leverage assets, and be the limited government our fore fathers envisioned.

  14. It’s soooo ironic that the council meetings are usually sparsely attended, as are many county commission, legislative and other public meetings. No teabagger oversight for the day to day business of government at any level. Folks sit on their hands most of the time and are then shocked, SHOCKED at the lack of transparency when they’re aggravated enough by Glen Beck and Dick Armey to pay attention to what’s going on around them.

    Where we these “activists” when the Patriot Act was passed if they’re so enamored of constitutional liberties? Oh, that would be philosophically consistent, can’t have that, no philosophy there, just reactionary anger and an “I’ve got mine so screw you” attitude.

    I’m sure all the teabaggers will make a commitment to regularly attend public meetings where actual policies, budgets and ordinances are determined, along with the displays of righteous anger over non-binding resolutions.

    And yes, for once, I’m happy with Mayor Bieter for taking a risk and breaking the tie on this vote. And since there’s a lot of talk about job descriptions, here is the one for the Mayor, here is the section of City code that describes the position.

    Chapter 1-01
    A. The City of Boise’s mission is to provide leadership, share the responsibility for advancing
    common community values, and, to the extent possible, provide services which foster a high
    quality of life through wise use of community resources. The Mayor’s Office mission, simply
    put, is to uphold and implement the citywide mission statement throughout the organization and
    throughout the community. In doing so, the office will continue to focus on a wide variety of
    programs and initiatives which further the core principles of the city mission: to provide
    leadership; to advance community values; and, to maintain or enhance community quality of life.
    B. The Mayor, in addition to the powers, duties and functions vested in him by Statue as the chief
    executive officer of the City and those specifically vested in him by the provisions of this Code,
    shall have authority to act, or designate the officer who shall act, in the enforcement of any
    provision of this Code in all cases where this Code fails to specify the officer who shall be
    charged with the duty of enforcement. (1952 Code, Sec. 1-101)
    (5851, Amended, 06/23/1998; 5163, Amended, 05/09/1989; 2103, Amended, 10/09/1950)

    Pretty broad description eh? But I bet the teabaggers didn’t bother to check this out, or even read the resolution. Thank goodness Sis is right and these candidates will go the way of good old B.S. Hurray for Boise demographics!

  15. I love it! Everone knows health care in this country is broken and is in need of a fix. The 12-15% a year increases in cost is not sustainable by any stretch of the imagination. The costs companies pay for worker healthcare impact take-home wages for workers.

    We spend 16% of our GNP on healthcare, more than twice the amount of other western countries. We have the thrid highes infant mortality rate in the world. Our life span is about 42 from the top.

    I do not have the answers to health care reform but I do feel certain there are a lot of smarter people than me working on this.

    Meanwhile “BIG HEALTH” wants to keep the status quo, Repubs aren’t bringing any help to the problem. People are getting the run around with insurance companies.

    Mayor Dave and everyone knows they aren’t going to solve the health care issue any more than they will overturn Rowe v. Wade.

    A public discourse on this is healthy. It gets people involved and they may actually read something about it rather than get their info from cable TV and the talking heads on the Radio.

  16. “And I daresay, Jim, that if the city of Boise was given a vote on the public option or health care reform it would pass overwhelmingly despite your shout down rallies.”

    I would like to have the opportunity to have that vote..As it is we have a city council voting a sense of the city resolution when the city consists of those 7 folk.

    Oh, and consider…if politicians did what their voters demand, they would be no reason to shout. Folk shout when our elected servants pretend to be our masters.

  17. LOL. I am quite happy. Are you suffering under the delusion that teabaggers represent the majority? Getting overexposed on Fox News does not a majority make.

    Cyclops, if you’re upset about illegals then talk to your buddy Sharon. The County is the one paying out on very expensive emergency room visits. But each one of the issues you mention are feel good teabagging issues which will have very little effect on the health care status quo. While they should be addressed they don’t need to be on the top of the priority list. And they’re all being addressed in the proposals on the table.

    Except tort reform. It shouldn’t be a priority. Show me one study that’s demonstrated that it saves consumers one dime. All it does is help the insurance company bottom line. And it takes away an important oversight function on the health care industry, not to mention robbing people of recourse when they’re wrongfully damaged by it. Please remember it takes a doctor to say another doctor screwed up, and they’re loathe to do that unless they really screwed up. Having a bunch of teabaggers take that right and important oversight function away from an injured party seems counter-intuitive to me. Especially if you turn out to be the injured party.

    What galls me about the tort reform red herring is the degree it demonstrates the teabaggers are the tools of the special interests, many unwittingly. Health care reform pits the consumers against the insurance industry, I’m at a loss on how anyone can take their side on this.

  18. The Boise Picayune
    Sep 17, 2009, 1:18 pm

    You just can’t make this (^and that^) stuff up!

  19. But one can read the polls, all of which put the health care scheme, Cap and Tax and Stimulus II well below 50%…57% in a Rasmussen poll last week advised they would fire ALL of congress if they could. 43% in a Pew poll advised they would rather have random selections from the phone book than our Congress. Today Fox had the democrat congress with an approval of 27%…Yesterday the Real Clear composite poll had them at 28%…

    News flash…the only folk who still love the dems in government are …dems in government.

  20. Sisyphus, your an intelligent, thoughful person. You know as well as I do that the county doesn’t pay for anything! You and I pay for it through our taxes. They just disperse our money. I, for one, am getting a little testy with the benefits we give illegals. Speaking of tort reform, we have recently had an attorney amass enough of a fortune by sueing tobacco companies to fund a campaign for the presidency.And he still wasn’t smart enough not to let the little head make his decisions. Why does a physician need to carry malpractice insurance for $10,000.00 a month just because of his specialty? The same thing holds true for hospitals. If they weren’t threatened by lawsuits that are frivolous, at best, maybe they wouldn’t have to charge $50 bucks for an aspirin. I am for tort reform, not out of symapathy for insurance companies. (They dwell on the bottom just like lawyers) But, they are hiding behind this issue and I want them out in the open where they make a better target. You see, I, as well as you, have amassed almost 1/4 million on hospital costs. (my share, as I have insurance as well)

  21. The new righter than right Right Wing is scarier than J. Edgar Hoover in women’s lingerie.

    Oh, and nice job Wunderlich B. posting under your new alias, Alva.

  22. News flash, Jim is a freeper who likes to look at politics through Fox colored glasses.

    The issues upon which Obama campaigned were polled in the only one that matters, last November. Given the fierce opposition and its overexposure in the media its not surprising Dems have taken a hit in the polls since they aren’t accomplishing what they were sent to Washington to do. But by no means has the public turned to Republicans for salvation.

    Favorable / Unfavorable
    Barack Obama: 55 / 38 (chart)
    Nancy Pelosi: 34 / 58
    Harry Reid: 30 / 58
    Mitch McConnell: 19 / 63
    John Boehner: 13 / 63
    Democratic Party: 41 / 50
    Republican Party: 23 / 67

    State of the Country
    40% Right Direction, 54% Wrong track

    If anything these numbers demonstrate a general amount of disgust with the current divisive political environment in which nothing gets done. And we all know whose fault that is. It does not mean they are looking to Republicans to fix it. Indeed I agree that if something substantive is not done on health care, Democrats will lose next November, particularly the most vulnerable, the blue dogs.

  23. Damn Cyclops, I am sorry to hear about your health care issues. All the more reason you should be on the bandwagon. Because this reform movement is quite precarious and if the tea baggers get their way, the insurance companies are going to be better off than before with tens of millions being forced to sign up with no cost savings realized by the citizens at all.

    The illegals are a drop in the bucket but, in any event, the proposals clearly preclude their participation in the reform. That and tort reform won’t begin to touch the reform necessary for it to be meaningful to you and I. If private insurance could not find a solution to the the uninsured problem in the last three decades, forcing those people on to the tax rolls, making them sicker and unproductive in the process, then I do not see the harm in government creating a opt in system that is cheaper and easier than what we got.

  24. “News flash, Jim is a freeper who likes to look at politics through Fox colored glasses.

    The issues upon which Obama campaigned were polled in the only one that matters, last November.”

    Actually, I seldom even read Free Republic..Are you a denizen of the swamps of Democrat Underground?

    As to the numbers, I would love to see that poll. Anything that has the Odious Pelosi’s negatives under 70% has to be over counting fringe Democrats…

  25. I had a discussion with Elaine Clegg about her vote on the resolution and my concern with it. I do believe the Federal Government has dropped the ball on ILLEGAL immigration, and on regulating the banking and insurance industries. I would not object to the City asking the Federal Government to focus on those issues. I do object to Section 3 of Resolution R-266-09, particularly “expanding existing public sector health care programs, such as Medicare, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Medicaid, including a public health plan option”.

    She justifies the Resolution based on escalating health care costs, which, when questioned, turn out to be health care insurance costs for the City’s employees. She wants the Federal Government to consider all options, never mind the mismanagement and fraud that plagues Medicare and Medicaid. She claims that the public health care in European countries, with the public health care option is less costly, but has no data on costs, deductibles, and limits for individuals. She claims that our health care costs billions of dollars more than these Euro countries, but is reluctant to acknowledge that ILLEGAL immigrants are costing Medicare billions of dollars.

    My ancestors are immigrants (LEGAL), and they were not allowed to board ship in Liverpool (turned back to Russia) because of health problems, which prevented them becoming a burden to the American health care system. We do not know what health care problems ILLEGAL immigrants bring us and ILLEGAL immigrants ARE a health care burden. My final issue with the “public health plan option” is the Federal Government should be a better REFEREE, and not be a PLAYER. The PLAYERS are the private sector insurers and health care providers.

    If the Federal Government becomes a PLAYER in the insurance business game, Elaine of all people, should be aware of the questionable ethics of having the REFEREE provided from the opposition. The City should insist on the Federal Government becoming better REFEREES and stay out of the private sector!

    “Section 3. That the City of Boise urges Congress and Administration to achieve the goal of health care for all Americans by expanding existing public sector health care programs, such as Medicare, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Medicaid, including a public health plan option, maintaining cost-effective and efficient private-sector health insurance options, and addressing access and disparity issues in health care experienced by many Americans.”

  26. It is unfortunate that the so called teabaggers really think they stand for freedom and free enterprise. The power players behind them support the status quo period. Let a teabagger get cancer and loose his job and find out his new employers insurance won’t cover the pre-existing condition and that person will cease to promote what ever it is teabaggers think they stand for. Is health care in the US really considered free enterprise as it works right now?
    Seems the only healthcare reform teabaggers support is the SINGLE PRAYER HEALTHCARE option.

    Why not start with free birth control and vasectomies for everyone regardless of income. A nurse practitioner can do a VAS.

  27. It’s interesting to see people use the term “teabagger” while trying to make a serious point about a national issue. Do you all realize that “teabagger” is slang for a sexual act?? If you truly want to win minds and hearts, you may want to grow up a bit and start talking like mature adults. Name calling is just as bad as using expletives – it tells me you’re not intelligent enough to have a civilized, in-depth conversation about an issue so your resort to ignorant speech. Just a thought.

  28. LOL. Are the teabaggers making serious points? They’re spewing misinformation solely on the basis that they got it from a ‘trusted’ source, Glen Beck or a mass email.
    They use fallacious pejorative terms like fascist and socialist all out of context, falsely accusing the existence of death panels in order to scare seniors. They (you) are very difficult to take seriously and in my book quite worthy of derision, intentionally or otherwise.

    Its kinda laughable that you have to explain the double entendre to accuse us of childishness even while acknowledging the serious point. And then you fail to grapple with the point or even the thread. Ironically you came online just to engage in the self same name calling you decry in others who may or may not have been aware of it. At least we’re the ones engaging in substantive dialogue instead of relying on unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks. And last I checked they’re proud of their name. Nobody chose it for them. OY.

  29. jon I notice you are omitting the same evidence you accuse Ms. Clegg of lacking. Please provide the support you have for illegals costing us billions of dollars and put it into the context of the total cost of health care reform scenario. Teabaggers tend to look at immigration reform as the panacea to all of America’s problems but their numbers don’t hold up to scrutiny.

    And nobody disagrees, except maybe you, that our health care system is by far the most expensive on the planet yet we rank relatively low on key markers like infant mortality and life span. It is why the reform issue surfaces perennially.

    I’m also thinking that your attack on Ms. Clegg is entirely misdirected when you should be addressing that issue to your congressman or the president, who I’m quite sure stated repeatedly illegals won’t be able to participate in the reform programs but certainly will if the status quo is maintained. If that’s the issue then you’d best be talking to your buddy Sharon on the County Board.

  30. Sisyphus, I would invite you to re-read your last two posts. With all respect, you failed to say anything of substance in either one. All of the double-talking points you are accusing others of, you have just accomplished yourself.

  31. OK, the arguments are finished. Once Obama and team hear what BOISE wants, that’s it!

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