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AARP Makes Senate Vote on Idaho Health Freedom Act 'Accountability Vote'

Bill up for Senate Vote - Could Wreak Havoc on Idaho's Health Care System- AARP will Inform Members of How their Legislator Votes

BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the Idaho State Senate expected to vote today on the ill-conceived Idaho Health Freedom Act (HB 391), a bill that could wreak havoc on the state's health care system, AARP has announced it will make the vote a part of it's "accountability vote" efforts.  AARP will record the roll call vote on the act (House Bill 391) and inform all of its 180,000 members in Idaho of how their Senator voted and of the Association's opposition and concerns with the bill.  

AARP sent the following letter to all members of the Idaho House this morning notifying them of the effort.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Senator:

On behalf of our 180,000 members in Idaho, I wanted to update you on some of AARP's activities that relate to our legislative agenda.

Our members care deeply about ensuring health care is more affordable and accessible, driving down soaring prescription drug costs, protecting Medicare and Medicaid, and tackling skyrocketing health insurance premiums.  They want to know how the Idaho State Legislature is responding to the issue.

AARP members are looking to us to keep them informed about what issues are being debated in the Idaho capitol, and where their elected officials stand and vote on these critical issues.

Therefore, AARP will be recording House and Senate roll call votes on key issues, and informing our Idaho members of the results of these key votes – and how their elected officials voted.

AARP will track and report the upcoming Senate vote on House Bill 391, the Idaho Health Freedom Act.  AARP has grave concerns about this legislation and the short and long-term effects it will have on our state's health care system.  As record numbers of Idaho families, retirees and businesses continue to struggle with health care costs, they look to their state and federal lawmakers for solutions and relief.  The Health Freedom Act provides no solutions or needed relief; rather, it creates more roadblocks to addressing Idaho's worsening health care woes.

The legislation seeks to oppose a component of a non-existent federal law – if successful it's a move that could prove detrimental to our state's health care system and take years to undo - why take the gamble?  It serves to draw Idaho into very costly litigation, threatens the loss of Idaho Medicare and Medicaid federal matching funds ($1.6 billion in Idaho), and health care jobs; it contradicts existing state policy to shield our college students from the disasters that face the uninsured; and it could tie the hands of state legislators from fully participating in all available state options to address the worsening health care woes of Idaho families.  

This bill is ill-conceived, vague, unproven, untried and is simply bad policy for the people of Idaho.  There are too many unknowns and too much at stake.  

Idahoans need solutions to their growing health care crisis, not more problems. AARP strongly urges you to oppose this legislation.

We will always provide advance notification of the votes that we will be recording, and fully inform you of AARP's position on the issue.

Please feel free to contact our offices (208-855-4004) with any questions about AARP's legislative priorities or this program.


James E. Wordelman

Sr. State Director

AARP Idaho


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