Possibly one of the most substantial pieces of law to come out of the 2010 legislative session was the Idaho Health Freedom Act, a bill allowing the state attorney general to sue the federal government over health care reforms, specifically a mandate requiring that all citizens purchase health insurance.
The bill was signed by Gov. Butch Otter, who received national attention for doing so. Otter, facing a re-election challenge from Democrat Keith Allred, believes that the federal government cannot force anyone to purchase any product or service.
Allred, in a press conference several days after the signing, said that Otter’s behavior wouldn’t help Idahoans at all. He said that he would work within federal health care reforms to develop a state health system that would perform better than any federal program that could be devised.
Instead of bucking the federal system, Allred said he would work to create a state exchange, based on free-market principles, which would help lower the cost of overall care. He said that it is critical that costs are addressed in statewide reforms, but added that the markets must be involved. ”I don’t think all the answers are government-run, by a long shot,” said Allred, who does not favor government price controls on health products or services.
The Democrat’s system would focus on preventative and primary care as a means to avert higher costs in catastrophic care. To do that, Allred explained, Idaho needs to put a large emphasis on training nurse practitioners, who provide basic health services at lower costs than doctors.
Here are Allred’s full remarks to IdahoReporter.com on his ideas for a state health system:
Otter has consistently rejected the majority of Allred’s ideas, saying that health care reforms need to be overturned. Otter explained in an interview with IdahoRepoter.com that he also believes in a “homegrown” health system and that the state has been working to increase nursing schools to allow more health providers to receive training in Idaho.
On Allred’s plan for a state-managed health system, Otter says that the Democrat’s plan would likely be worse, in his opinion, then federal reforms. ”It’s been my experience that you’ve got to have a system that’s as bad as – or worse than – the federal government’s answer,” concluded Otter.
Here are Otter’s full remarks on health care in Idaho:
Otter and Allred, along with three other candidates, square off in the polls Tuesday.