An impressive group, including a couple of former national secretaries of Health and Human Services (Mike Leavitt and Kathleen Sebelius) and a roomful of medical professionals, turned up at the Idaho Healthcare Summit at Fort Hall this week. The idea was to educate Idaho officials on the subject of health care, and a few leading Idaho officials - Senate President pro tem Brent Hill, House Democratic leader John Rusche (a physician) and House health committee chair Fred Wood (also a physician), among them. They were among the Idaho legislators who probably were least in need of the education; according to news reports, just one other legislator (Representative Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree) showed up. The facts apparently didn't matter to many others Today's editorial in the Idaho Falls Post Register suggests, "As for the rest, we can only assume they are content to remain uninformed, place greater stock in talking points than actual data, and continue to appease GOP primary votersby tossing around perjoratives such as 'Obamacare' while lamenting 'federal dependency.'"
Not all of the "Patriot Act" (you have to know there's something wrong when legislation is wrapped in the flag like that) is bad; it included a number of needed updates and upgrades in the law. But the bad stuff, such as the authorization of mass surveillance, was really bad, and support for it has diminished over the years, both on the left and right. Now, on Monday, it may be wiped out - sunset. And that could be important, because simply reauthorizing what's already on the books may be a lot different, politically, than specifically authorizing a new bill. A new, cleaner, better proposal might still pass. But at least a lot of the garbage soon may be taken out.