Action by Senate State Affairs Cmte to Sink "Unconstitutional" Bill Puts People before Politics – Helps to Preserve Access to Rx for Seniors
BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Averting a potentially disastrous piece of legislation, a majority of Idaho Senators on the State Affairs Committee took a bold stand and voted down a measure to "nullify" the federal health care law in Idaho. Today, AARP commended those lawmakers for their opposition to House Bill 117. The move saves the state billions of dollars, prevents the loss of thousands of health care jobs, and preserves access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Idahoans, including senior's access to prescription drugs.
"Nullification of the health care law could have forced thousands of older Idahoans to struggle with prescription drug costs, leaving many to go without – today, the actions of a handful of Idaho Senators prevented what could have proven a statewide disaster," said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP in Idaho. "AARP commends those members of the Senate State Affairs Committee who voted against the bill for staving off a short-sighted approach that held dire implications for Idaho."
The bill sailed through the House in the face of two opinions by the Idaho State Attorney General's office, pointing out both the unconstitutionality of efforts to nullify the federal health care law and the glaring risk to the state.
"We know not everyone agrees with the new health care law, but this approach was the wrong one -- it would've put many Idahoans at an unneeded risk of not being able to have access to health care," added Wordelman.
Earlier this month, AARP warned against the nullification efforts, releasing a Nullification-By-The-Numbers to remind legislators and the public of the potential impact the measure could have on Idahoans of all ages. The bill posed a direct threat to:
- 18,000 seniors, who've hit the prescription drug coverage gap in Medicare, known as the "doughnut hole," and are provided relief under the federal law.
- 6,520 younger uninsured state residents, whom the law currently helps to have health care coverage by staying on their parent's insurance plans.
- 212,000 older Idahoans who receive free preventative health screenings through Medicare, helping to avoid higher costs for largely preventable illnesses.
- 857,000 Idahoans who are prevented from being kicked off their health care plans once they hit the lifetime limits the law currently eliminates. Without the protection many would be pushed into emergency rooms for basic health care, resulting in billions of dollars in uncompensated care, shifting higher insurance premiums onto everyone else.
- $1.5 billion Idaho receives in federal matching funds for Medicaid, the loss of which could mean the elimination of thousands of health care jobs in Idaho.
- 215,000 Medicaid enrollees, with the loss of federal matching funds they would be forced from the program, leaving: Idaho to provide the services at a great financial burden; hospitals with soaring emergency room admissions; and state residents to bear the cost of uncompensated care in the form of increased insurance premiums.
AARP is Idaho's largest membership organization with 180,000 members.
Follow us on Twitter @AARPIdaho and Facebook: AARP Idaho
SOURCE AARP Idaho