Eye On Boise

Idaho lawmakers not ready to opt out of health reform or alter constitution

Idaho lawmakers would be foolish and premature to try to either opt out of federal health care reforms or, following Arizona's lead, change the state's constitution to try to keep reforms out, lawmakers of both parties concluded today after hours of testimony.  "It's premature - opt out of what?" said Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston. Said Rep. Gary Collins, R-Nampa, "It would be foolish to do something like that." House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, called any such moves "extremely premature."

The Idaho Legislature's health care task force, which includes both senators and representatives from both parties, invited insurers, underwriters, representatives of doctors and hospitals, the AARP and more to give presentations on whether Idaho should opt out of national reforms or change its constitution, and what reforms would help the state. None of the presenters favored either move.

Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, who co-chairs the task force with Collins, said some Idaho legislators are working on a constitutional amendment. "I am told that there are legislators that are considering it," he said. "I think we heard pretty clearly that it's, A, premature, and B, may not be the most effective way of us stating our opinion of whatever the health care reform may be."




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