A bill to shield Idahoans from possible federal health care mandates is moving to a vote on the Senate floor. The Senate State Affairs Committee Wednesday morning passed the bill on a 6-3 vote.
The Idaho Health Freedom Act reads, in part, “every person in the state of Idaho is and shall continue to be free from government compulsion in the selection of health insurance options, and that such liberty is protected by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Idaho.” It was sponsored in the House by Representatives Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, and Lynn Luker, R-Boise.
Much of the discussion centered on how the bill would stand up to the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, asserted that health care is part of interstate commerce, and therefore the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the federal government’s right to regulate it. Clark recognized there’s been a long conflict between the Commerce Clause and the 10th Amendment, but said on the issue of health care, the courts have not yet decided which takes precedence.
Michelle Stennett, who’s standing in this session for her husband, Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, said she didn’t see the need for the bill, because Congress has not yet passed a national health care bill. Clark replied that the federal government has been trying since the 1930s to pass some form of a government health care system, and that even if a bill is not passed in the current Congress, the issue is not going away.