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Tuesday, October 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Alternative health care bill dies in House H&W Committee on 8-4 vote

An alternative health care bill from Reps. John VanderWoude, R-Nampa, and Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls, went down to defeat in the House Health & Welfare Committee this morning, after testimony that it would boot elderly and disabled people, including nursing home residents, off of Medicaid, attempt to set up an unworkable and unfunded direct primary care program within Medicaid, and unnecessarily write into law Gov. Butch Otter’s executive order regarding sale of insurance plans that aren’t fully compliant with the Affordable Care Act.

The vote to hold HB 615 in committee was 8-4; the only dissenters were VanderWoude, Zollinger, and Reps. Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston, and Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony.

VanderWoude spoke in favor of an amended substitute motion from Kingsley to send the bill to the House’s amending order for changes. “I do agree that it needs to be clearer on the people with the disabilities,” he said. “It was never the intention of Rep. Zollinger or myself to take people with disabilities and cut ‘em off their benefits.” But that motion failed, 4-8.

Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, said, “I think a primary care plan may be a very good thing.” But, she said, “It’s not something we can do in two sentences in a bill.”

Rep. Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, said, “There are some things in here that I really like.” But, she said, “It seems like we’ve tried to pack too much into it.”

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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