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Tuesday, September 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Group of Idaho House Republicans say they’ll propose new health care bill this week

A group of Idaho House Republicans, led by Rep. John VanderWoude, R-Nampa, announced today that they’ll introduce legislation this week aimed at improving health care in Idaho by increasing the number of family medicine residency slots; creating a loan forgiveness program to help community health centers recruit doctors; and directing hospitals to help patients enroll in primary care instead of visiting emergency rooms, through a new Idaho Coordinated Care Program, which would be available to people in Idaho’s health coverage gap and also to some people already on Medicaid, and would provide some care coordinated care including annual health screenings and diabetes management.

“Idaho fought to ensure we maintain local control of our health care system,” VanderWoulde said in a statement. “With the election of President Donald Trump, now is time to change Idaho’s health care system without interference from federal government. Today, health care is expensive and inefficient. We have a solution to fix it.”

VanderWoude is the House Majority Caucus chairman. You can read his full statement here. It says the proposal “puts the infrastructure and tools in place so local experts can determine the best way to solve the problems facing their communities.”

VanderWoude told Eye on Boise the bill anticipates spending $10 million from the Millennium Fund for primary care for about 10,000 to 15,000 people. Asked about JFAC already having committed the Millennium Fund proceeds for next year, VanderWoude said, "It'll take us a while to set this up." It may be a year out before the money would be tapped, he said.

VanderWoude said he's looking into whether the bill can be introduced on its own on the House side, or needs to be combined with a $10 million health gap bill from Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, that's currently on the Senate's amending order.

In addition to VanderWoude, those working on the bill include Reps. Luker, Kerby, Redman, Dayley, and Malek. The group also has worked with Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, and showed its proposal to Hagedorn.

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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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