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Eye On Boise

Candidate Allred pitches health care alternative

Keith Allred, Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, today said he has a different plan from current GOP Gov. Butch Otter’s lawsuit challenging federal health care reform: He said if elected governor, he’d take advantage of a clause in the new law that lets states “opt out” of the plan if they enact their own health-care reform plans. “Every year, more Idahoans don’t have access to health care and virtually all Idahoans pay more for it,” Allred said. “Whether we’re Republican, Democrat or independent, most of us agree that we just can’t keep going down the same path.”

Allred didn’t release details of such a plan or its financing mechanism, but he provided these details about the state waiver in the federal health care reform law:

* It was inserted into the federal bill by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.
* It allows for states to waive the individual mandate to buy health care.
* It allows for the creation of a voucher system that allows people to choose their own insurance.

“In Idaho, we have a strong tradition of taking our destiny into our own hands,” said Allred, a former nonpartisan citizen activist, mediator and former Harvard professor, who unveiled his idea at a news conference today at the state Capitol’s auditorium. “With the leadership of Governor Kempthorne, we chose to solve our water problems ourselves rather than have a solution imposed on us by judges in the Snake River Basin Adjudication.  With the leadership of Governor Risch, we chose to get out from under the federal roadless rule by crafting our own. In the 2010 election, we will choose a governor to work on our health care challenges.  This is a real choice.  Governor Otter will entrust the job to federal judges.  I won’t.  I’ll honor our tradition of taking our destiny into our own hands by offering the leadership needed to implement a state solution.  That is the path more likely to control the costs and increase the accessibility of health care.” You can read Allred’s full statement here.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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