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Idaho's Health Care Woes Need Solutions, Not More Roadblocks
Date:1/29/2010

Statement by Jim Wordelman State Director for AARP Idaho

BOISE, Idaho, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As members of Congress figure out the next steps to take to tackle health care reform, Idaho's health care woes continue to grow worse by the day.  It's time for Idaho's state and federal lawmakers to step up to the plate for Idaho's families, businesses, and retirees to deliver solutions as opposed to more roadblocks to addressing this critical issue.

The "Health Freedom Act," recently passed by the House State Affairs Committee, raises some very serious concerns.  The legislation appears contradictive to existing state law.  While state lawmakers passed a law requiring students to carry health insurance, they now seem on the verge of attempting to stop the federal government from enacting a similar mandate.  Negating such a law seems like a step in the wrong direction, leaving one of the fastest growing populations of uninsured (19-34 year olds) at even greater risk -- forcing many into emergency rooms to receive basic care.

In the midst of a state budget crisis, Governor Otter has vowed to fight a health care reform which has yet to fully take shape and whose details have yet to be negotiated, dedicating significant state dollars to do so.  Some estimates say he'll spend over a million dollars on the effort.  

In Idaho, as Governor Otter and our state lawmakers prepare to make sweeping cuts to our state budget  -- including cuts to Medicaid and programs and services that provide health care in communities to hundreds of thousands of people -- they also stand to make the health care crisis worse for people across the state.  Health care reform at the
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SOURCE AARP Idaho
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