Guest Commentary


In response: Choice, access: private alternatives can lower health care costs

Opinion by Stephen Akerman

I am always struck at how people use the good health impacts of medicine to justify forcing individuals to accept a government mandate. Ms. Margaret Henbest, and other supporters of Your Health Idaho, are doing just that (“Essential Benefits will help state residents stay healthy, control costs,” Feb. 5, Idaho County Free Press).

On voting preparation: Affiliation deadline is March 14

Very soon we will be in full swing as the election cycle kicks into gear once again. 2014 will prove to be a big election year with many local and state races beckoning voters to get out to the polls. Although the May primary may seem a long way off, here are a few things to keep in mind right now, as there are some early deadlines to pay close attention to.

State of the Union response:

Our country faces serious challenges

I watched President Obama’s State of the Union speech interested to see what his view is on the current condition of our nation and the challenges he plans to address in the weeks and months ahead. President Obama’s current economic approach seems to include adding to the tax and spending increases that have caused much of our nation’s serious challenges.

Idaho Freedom Foundation to legislators:

End corp income or grocery taxes

If Idaho lawmakers want to do something really bold and useful this legislative session, I have two suggestions. One of these is doable this legislative session, depending on how lawmakers proceed. Option one: Eliminate the tax on groceries. Eliminating the sales tax on groceries would save Idahoans somewhere around $170 million a year. This sounds like pretty tough and, perhaps, insurmountable public policy to put in place.

Salmon River area wine industry? Options to explore for the region

For me, it began with a “light bulb moment” during a September 2013 presentation by Melissa Sanborn, owner of Colter’s Creek Winery & Vineyard and a commissioner with the Idaho Wine Commission. She showed a map entitled “Idaho Growing Regions” with three circled areas in the state of Idaho. Melissa said the Snake River Valley has official American Viticulture Area status, the Lewis Clark Valley is working on AVA status, and the area around Riggins and White Bird has potential. While her presentation focused on the Snake and LC valleys, my mind kept going back to the idea that the Riggins/White Bird area has wine grape growing potential.

In rebuttal: Utilization, preservation both possible for our public lands

The recent op/ed [Dec. 25 issue] by State Democrat party chairman Larry Kenck represents the contrast by those who think a centralized bureaucracy 3,000 miles away can best manage our state affairs, and those who believe it is time to take control of our own destiny as a state.

Christmas tree hunts endangered by Idaho GOP’s lands proposal

An important event for my family is the annual Christmas tree hunt. Up in Idaho’s Panhandle, it can mean a day-trip as far as you can get down a logging road or a short walk beyond your backyard.

Your Health Idaho: Importance of a state-based marketplace

I will start by quoting words of wisdom from one of America’s great leaders, Ronald Reagan, “Millions of individuals making their own decisions in a marketplace will always allocate resources better than any centralized government.” Your Health Idaho is just the type of marketplace.

Problem? Voters won’t delay gratification

In a classic psychological study, hungry four-year-olds were offered a marshmallow. They were told that if they could wait about 20 minutes before eating, they could have two marshmallows instead of one.

Pushing back against UN Arms Trade treaty; constitution issues

International organizations like the United Nations (UN) cannot deny American citizens the right to bear arms. We must protect and preserve this constitutional right.

This health care surprise not so good

The surprise is that so many people are surprised. Over the last several weeks there has been loads of coverage of the Obamacare debacle.

Those Idahoans far from home

This Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays we will join together with family and friends to celebrate our many blessings—time with loved ones, health, contentment, a home, food on our tables. Whatever our blessings may be, let us keep those Idahoans who are far from home in our thoughts and prayers.

Moving Idaho’s state-based health insurance exchange past challenges

Of all the challenges we’re facing with Idaho’s state-based health insurance exchange, none has been more disappointing than the chorus of those who attribute each setback to cronyism or conspiracy, and those whose most constructive criticism is “I told you so.”

Idaho’s core values measured in public education funding

Aristotle famously said that if you really want to understand what a state values, observe how it spends its money. In an age in which politicians of every stripe declare, or at least feign, commitment to the “future of our children,” the universal yardstick for measuring the authenticity of their words can be measured in their support for education.

Government shutdown aftermath:

Nothing but pain accomplished

This nation, and even the world, has witnessed the humiliating debacle of the United States Congress using a self-inflicted wound to make fools of themselves and to damage the image and standing of the United States Government; in a doomed effort to change a law (Obamacare) that was enacted into law, signed by the President and approved by a conservative Supreme Court.