Health care: State officials should follow Idaho’s pragmatic lead

Liberals often claim that because government is too stingy with entitlement programs, some people have to choose between seeing a doctor or putting food on the table. What if people could afford both if government would just butt out of their lives?

The Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — has made health insurance virtually unaffordable for millions of Americans. It has forced insurance companies to provide only coverage many people don’t want or need, at prices they cannot afford.

As a result, many have chosen not to buy health insurance at all, even if they have to pay a penalty to the Internal Revenue Service. Last year, about 7.5 million Americans made that difficult decision.

It was cheaper for them to go without insurance and pay the penalty.

Fortunately, Congress and President Donald Trump have done away with the penalty provision. But most other Obamacare rules, including those on what types of coverage insurers may offer, remain in place.

State officials in Idaho, concerned about increasingly unaffordable coverage, have unveiled a plan that would allow insurance companies to offer cheap policies people can afford.

Some of the coverage is of the bare-bones variety — but it certainly beats nothing.

But it would be illegal under Obamacare for Idaho to implement its plan. So many residents of that state and others will continue to be stuck with the choice of no health insurance or coverage so costly it forces them to cut back on necessities.

At some point — soon, we hope — Congress will come up with a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. When that happens, states like Idaho that have affordable coverage provisions in place will be able to implement them expeditiously.

Officials in Pennsylvania should follow Idaho’s lead and be ready for a change that must occur.

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