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Eye On Boise

House panel opposes stop-smoking help for pregnant women, ‘cause feds want it

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A stiff anti-federal wind again gusted through the House this week as a Republican-dominated committee opposed allowing Medicaid to pay for anti-smoking remedies for pregnant women and children. The 2010 federal health care overhaul expands Medicaid to cover doctor-advised prescription and non-prescription tobacco cessation products for kids and pregnant women, since smoking can lead to low birth weight, among other health problems. But Monday, the House Health and Welfare Committee voted 7-3 to reject the rule. Some raised concerns that cessation products like Chantix have been blamed for increased suicide risk. But Republican Rep. Steve Thayn of Emmett says what drove his vote was opposition to the top-down federal mandate. House Minority Leader John Rusche of Lewiston backed the changes and remains optimistic they'll still take effect, with Senate support.

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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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