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AARP Urges Key Senate Committee to Say No to Idaho Health Freedom Act

Vague, Ill-Conceived Legislation Could Wreak Havoc on Idaho's Health Care System

BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Idaho families, businesses and retirees struggle with soaring health care costs, a vague bill aimed at tackling an issue in a non-existent federal health care law could make the crisis worse for many of the state's residents.  The Idaho Health Freedom Act (HB 391) is set to be heard by Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee tomorrow morning, and AARP says the legislation is unproven, untried and vague and is urging them to reject the bill.

"The short and long-term policy implications and unintended consequences of this bill could spell disaster for Idahoans," said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP in Idaho.  "The Idaho Health Freedom Act touts 'liberty' and 'freedom' as its guiding principles, however the bill could well tie the hands of state legislators to tackle real health care issues in Idaho."

The bill seeks to prohibit a federal government mandate for Idaho residents to have health insurance - though a policy has long been in place requiring students at state colleges and universities to carry health insurance, without it they can't enroll.  

AARP opposition to the Idaho Health Freedom Act.

  • The measure could draw the state into costly litigation, leaving Idaho's ability to tackle health care issues subject to a court interpretation.  
  • If passed and signed into law, it could result in the loss of over $1.6 billion in federal marching funds for Medicaid and the State's Children Health Insurance Program.  
  • It will enter the state into costly litigation with little chance of success.
  • The act may destabilize the state's insurance market, resulting in higher premiums.
  • HB 391 is vague, untried, unproven – leaving too much open to interpretation.
  • The bill does nothing to address Idaho's worsening health care crisis.

"This bill is the wrong prescription to fix real problems facing Idahoans - high health care costs, soaring insurance premiums and skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs," added Wordelman.  "Idaho needs real solutions to real problems, rather than laws taking aim at non-existent ones."

AARP is Idaho's largest membership organization with over 180,000 members.

Follow us on Twitter @AARPIdaho and Facebook: AARP Idaho




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