Governor signs anti-mandate Idaho Health Freedom Act into law


Noting that Washington, D.C., is “working out their scheme” to pass a health reform bill, the governor of Idaho has signed into law a bill blocking any individual mandate to secure health insurance and give the state the right to sue to protect that freedom.

C.L. “Butch” Otter

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, signed the Idaho Health Freedom Act (HB 391) into law March 17, as Congressional Democrats and the White House work to finalize a reform plan.

Otter scolded both groups as “working out their scheme for pushing through a healthcare ‘reform’ bill that has more pages than the U.S. Constitution has words.

“I guarantee you that not a single member of the House or Senate has a complete understanding of that legislation any more than they understood all the implications of the USA Patriot Act back in 2001,” Otter said in a statement. “What the Idaho Health Freedom Act says is that the citizens of our state won’t be subject to another federal mandate or turn over another part of their life to government control.”

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has hinted that she’ll use the “self-executing rule,” or “deem and pass” mechanism to pass the Senate bill without a formal up or down vote, sparing an on-the-record vote by Congressional members, many of whom are up for November re-election.  The Congressional chamber would then vote on amendments to the Senate reform bill.

The Idaho law, sponsored by three state representatives and a state senator, would block any individual mandate to secure health insurance through federal legislation and give the state’s attorney general the right to seek injunctive “or other appropriate relief.”

The measure is expected to cost Idaho $100,000 through additional enforcement through the attorney general’s office.

In his statement, Otter said the Idaho Health Freedom Act also takes into account the work the state is doing already to promote more accessible and affordable health care to its citizens. As examples, the governor cited public-private partnerships on primary car medical homes – a model to coordinate care among physicians – throughout the state and expanding safe and secure electronic medical records.

“We have kept our priorities where they belong – on finding better, more efficient and effective ways to serve the individuals, families and communities with whose tax dollars we are entrusted,” Otter said.

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