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Eye On Boise

Mon., March 25, 2013, 8:35 a.m.

House Health & Welfare defeats motion for hearing tomorrow on Medicaid expansion

The House Health & Welfare Committee has been meeting since 7:30 this morning; the House has convened on the floor, but has now gone at ease to await the committee’s arrival. The panel just voted, in a divided vote, to approve an amended substitute motion to send SB 1114a, regarding behavioral health, to the House’s amending order.

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, then said, “I move that we add HB 309 and 308 to our agenda for tomorrow.” Chairman Fred Wood, R-Burley, called a brief recess, then reconvened the committee. Those two bills, he said, are “the property tax relief through the elimination of indigent care, the catastrophic health care program in the state of Idaho, and the expansion of Medicaid. ... Is there any discussion?”

Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell, said, “I think those are two big, critical issues that we really need to take a look at. I’m not in favor ot this point in time of doing the Medicaid expansion or going down that road,” so he said he’d oppose the motion.

Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, said, “I’ve never seen a committee where the committee members start setting the agenda, it’s always been up to the chairman to set the agenda, and I would respect the chairman’s position that he sets the agenda.” Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, questioned whether there was time to properly notice a meeting tomorrow morning.

Wood said, “The chair would also oppose that. The chair has no intention of having a meeting tomorrow, or for the foreseeable future. We’re all frustrated by the fact of what happens with the amount of money that we’re leaving on the table, etc. Rep. Rusche’s motion comes out of frustration, I understand that.” He said, “Out of respect to let Rep. Rusche have his say etc., I certainly allowed the motion, but I certainly don’t intend to have a meeting tomorrow either, and that certainly is the discretion of the fair.” He called for the vote; only Rusche and Rep. Sue Chew, D-Boise, supported the motion, so it failed. The committee then adjourned.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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