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Idaho Legislators Stand for Health Care Freedom

Saturday, February 20, 2010 Medico Legal News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—the nation's largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators—congratulates Idaho State Representatives Jim Clark, Lynn Luker, and Raul Labrador for their successful sponsorship of HB 391, the Idaho Health Freedom Act, which was passed by the Idaho House of Representatives by a vote of 52 to 18 last week. This fast moving bill has already passed the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, February 17, by a vote of 6 to 3 and is currently scheduled for a Senate floor debate the week of February 22.

(Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091014/ALECLOGO)

"The Idaho Health Freedom Act seeks to protect two essential rights: It protects a person's right to participate or not in any health care system and prohibits the government from imposing fines or penalties on that person's decision. Also, it protects the right of individuals to purchase and the right of doctors to provide lawful medical services without government fine or penalty. HB 391 is taking a leadership role in defending Idaho's states rights," said Idaho Representative Jim Clark.

Idaho now joins 35 other states where legislators have introduced, or will introduce, legislation modeled after ALEC's Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. Under the legislation, any state attempt to require an individual to purchase health insurance—or forbid an individual from purchasing services outside of the required health care system—would be rendered unconstitutional. The measure may also cause a federalism clash if Congress passes a law with either of these provisions.

"This is a battle that has been fought before and won before. States may protect individual liberties to a greater extent than the U.S. Constitution allows, and the courts must balance the competing interests. This is the foundation of the effort in Idaho and elsewhere—that health care choice is a civil liberties issue," said Christie Herrera, director of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force, which is coordinating the nationwide effort.

The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act has already been filed or prefiled in 31 states, and lawmakers in an additional 4 states have publicly announced their intentions to file the legislation. A complete map with links to the legislation in each state is available online at www.alec.org.

SOURCE American Legislative Exchange Council

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