Smart money buys lasting value or fills immediate needs. Dumb money buys costs, not value.
Similarly, smart lawsuits buy sound public policy and dumb lawsuits buy costs. Dumb ones stem from actions that are clearly unlawful at the outset.
The Legislature is again setting itself up to spend dumb money on a dumb lawsuit. Idahoans work incredibly hard to pay taxes and shouldn’t have to see them become dumb money because of legislators’ pique, whims or faulty beliefs.
With Gov. Brad Little’s signature, Senate Bill 1204aa sets up the state for an expensive lawsuit. It adds work requirements for those who qualify to receive health care under Medicaid, despite the fact that recipients are mostly children, elderly, the disabled or working poor.
Courts have ruled that work requirements are illegal, but that niggling detail didn’t deter legislators or the governor.
They approved work requirements with an estimated $2.8 million in costs to set up a 14-person bureaucracy to ferret out a miniscule number of cheats, shuffle paperwork and make sure that anyone with “reporting errors” is deprived of medical care paid by Medicaid.
The legislators who did this say they oppose federal spending, which provides most of the funding for Medicaid expansion, and want to get deadbeats off welfare and into jobs.
For this, the state will be sued, and Idahoans will have to foot the bill.
Idaho is becoming famous for passing laws that won’t pass legal muster. Surely, we’d prefer to be famous for our potatoes and wilderness, not for needlessly wasting gobs of cash on Dumb Money quests.