Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, proposed legislation this morning that he’s calling the “Idaho Health Freedom Act” to both ban the state from enforcing any requirements for Idahoans or Idaho businesses to purchase health insurance, and ban enforcement of any penalties for not doing so. The measure, which Clark is co-sponsoring with Reps. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, and Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, also would require the state Attorney General to go to court to fight such requirements. When Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, noted that Idaho already requires people to purchase auto insurance, Clark responded, “You don’t have to purchase an automobile - that’s the difference. You can walk, you can take public transportation.”
Clark said he used information from the American Legislative Exchange Council and several other states’ proposals as models to craft his bill. The House State Affairs Committee voted to introduce the measure on a voice vote, with three panel members objecting; now it will be scheduled for a full hearing. The bill’s fiscal note says it could require adding a position to the Attorney General’s office and spending about $100,000 in state funds.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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