Eye On Boise

MONDAY, APRIL 4, 2011, 8:11 A.M.

Anti-health care reform bill clears Senate panel

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, presents HB 298, that latest anti-health care reform law after out-and-out
Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, presents HB 298, that latest anti-health care reform law after out-and-out "nullification" bills failed, to the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday morning; the bill cleared the panel on a divided voice vote. (Betsy Russell)

HB 298, the bill that's being referred to as the "grandson of nullification," has passed the Senate State Affairs Committee on a rather unenthusiastic, divided voice vote. Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens; Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation; and a citizen who spoke of the virtues of nullification were among those calling for passage of the bill, which would forbid Idaho from accepting federal money to implement health care reform and would put a one-year hold on any actions by the state to comply with discretionary portions of the law, along with other measures. It's a follow-up to earlier attempts to declare the federal health care reform law "null and void" and block it from taking effect in Idaho; one bill aimed at that end passed the House, but died in this same Senate committee.

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, asked how much Idaho taxpayers might have to pay as a result of the passage of the new bill, including paying the federal government back or paying "for services that we're not going to receive from the federal government?" Hoffman responded, "I don't believe it would cost the taxpayers anything. ... We'd certainly be passing up some opportunities to get federal grants that are coming down, but it's not going to cost the state." Lodge, who is chairwoman of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, said, "I've heard that the taxpayers will have to pay back, they'll have to take part in any of the costs of this health care legislation if it's upheld by the Supreme Corut. And I was just kind of wanting to know if you've done that far an analysis of what it's going to cost the individual taxpayers."

Hoffman said, "Our figure was around $200 million for the impact of the entire PPACA, if it stands," in Idaho. The House-passed bill now moves to the full Senate for a vote.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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