HB 298, nicknamed the “grandson of nullification” as the latest version of legislation aimed at barring the national health care reform law from being implemented in Idaho, has passed the Senate on a 24-11 vote and headed to the governor's desk. This version targets the discretionary portions of the act, and says Idaho won't do anything to comply with those for one year; it also prevents the state from accepting federal funds to implement the act. “Nothing in this stops our state from implementing a health care exchange,” said Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, the bill's Senate sponsor. Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, objected to Pearce's repeated use of the name “Obamacare” to refer to the reform law; Pearce apologized and said he'd switch to the official acronym, PPACA, which stands for Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Malepeai said, “We've got some complicated issues before us as it relates to health care. … Do we have resources to do all this? I'm not sure where we're headed down the road in terms of all that's going on at the national level, but I just want us to think about what we're doing.” He said, “We don't want to move too hastily forward and do something that we will regret later.” “I think this is a mistake financially,” said Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow.
Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, speaking in favor of the bill, said of the national health care reform bill, “It takes away our right to choose our doctor, sets up death panels … sets up a wealth of programs in the home to take our children away from us, which is the same way the Nazis did.” Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, said, “It's really a good time to slow down and say, wait, not yet. … We don't know how deep the water is. Let's not dive in yet.” Said Pearce, “We at least need to hold it out of Idaho as long as we can.”