[Vision2020] Cannabidiol diverts us from the big picture

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Fri Jan 6 01:01:12 PST 2017

Courtesy of the Opinion section of today's (January 6, 2017) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with appreciation to Moscow physician and former state senator Dan Schmidt.


His View: Cannabidiol diverts us from the big picture

By Dan Schmidt

I welcome former state Rep. Cindy Agidius to the regular columnists in the Daily News. I thank her for bringing public policy issues forward and commend her on her courage to take public stands. We all need such courage in the face of "fake news" and uncivil discourse.
Her characterization of the cannabidiol bill a couple of years back needs some clarification, since she cited my vote. At the time it was presented there had been no clear evidence offered in clinical trials that it was effective. That's why I encouraged the Senate sponsor to change his bill to simply move the substance to an "over the counter" classification, since there was little evidence it was abused or harmed people. In fact, at the time I thought it should be considered in the realm of herbal treatments, which can be very effective. I still think so. The sponsor, Sen. Curt McKenzie, told me his bill was the only one the governor would sign, so I supported his attempt. But then the governor chose to veto after the legislature had adjourned, and all could wring their hands that they "tried" to help the suffering. The fear of cannabis runs deep in many. And the suffering continues.
But does Agidius skip over something?

If the majority party really wants to address the issue of suffering in Idaho, can we come around to health insurance? There have been many studies that have shown the value of access to primary care health care to save lives, reduce illness and reduce suffering.

The Republican-dominated Idaho legislature sat on its hands for four years while you taxpayers paid your property taxes for the uninsured. You paid state income tax for their claims. You paid higher health insurance premiums to cover the uninsured. Catastrophic medical claims led the way to bankruptcy in the Idaho middle class.

I appreciate that some severe seizure and health conditions may need alternative treatments, and the Legislature should stop being a roadblock for such choice. At the same time, why turn our backs on a choice that is proven?

If Republicans in this state had the same courage they did four years ago when they voted to institute a state-based insurance exchange to further address the issue of the uninsured, Idaho would have saved the taxpayer over $120 million and brought $6 billion into the Idaho economy. And yes, there would have been some lives saved.

So Idaho Republicans can now easily nod toward President-elect Donald Trump and Washington, D.C., as the "Repeal and Replace" show will roll out. Does that give you a sense of state sovereignty? Idaho could have been working on this since Agidius was last in office. If we as a country do not want to pursue universal health coverage, then those with health insurance will continue to pay through their premiums or taxes for those uncovered. If we want to use health insurance through private payers as the medium for paying for health care, then the individual mandate is the tradeoff we must accept. That is, unless you just want to talk about health care policy with bumper stickers and slogans.

I applaud Agidius for her stance and I agree, cannabidiol oil should be available to those suffering. I just don't think you should need a doctor's prescription. But such small stances are a distraction from the big problem that is driving this country down: the cost of health care, the burden of health care access and the politicization of the solutions right before our eyes. Wake up Idaho.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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