Gov. Butch Otter said the health care legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Sunday is wrong, and will lead to a legacy of debt. Here is Otter's official response to the legislation, which was approved on a 219-212 vote:
“States like Idaho are working hard to create public-private health care partnerships and facilitate local solutions. Big federal programs aren’t the answer. It’s even more important now for patients and practitioners, hospitals and health insurers, employers and employees to work together, because Congress and the White House got it wrong. All this will do is keep states and the marketplace from making health care more affordable and accessible while imposing a legacy of untold debt on our children and grandchildren.”
Idaho's congressional delegation continued its opposition to federal health care legislation. Democratic U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick said in an official statement that he voted no in part because that's what he was told by Idahoans.
"I voted no today because I was elected to listen to my constituents, seek the best possible information and use my best judgment to make the right decision for Idaho. It was a difficult vote because, like all Idahoans, I truly do care about improving the health-insurance system, about reducing costs and about improving care. But I voted against this bill because it is critical to the long-term fiscal health of the country that we not get this wrong."
Minnick also said that he favors comprehensive tort reform and measures that will bring down the cost of health care while not adding to the federal deficit.
Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson said he is ready for legal challenges to the legislation.
"There is no doubt that this legislation will be challenged in court ... Beyond the question of its legality, this bill will ultimately damage the health care system in the United States while adding another $2 to 3 trillion to our national debt. At this time, I encourage all Idahoans to support Governor Otter in his effort to challenge its constitutionality in court.”
Simpson is referring to the Idaho Health Freedom Act, which Otter signed into law March 17. The law requires the attorney general to defend the state from any mandates for individuals to buy health care.