WASHINGTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday, Idaho became the second state (after Virginia) to enact legislation to protect their citizens from being forced to purchase health insurance or participate in any health care system against their will. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has identified 37 other states that have passed or introduced similar bills or have announced that they will introduce this legislation. Already, at least one house of the legislatures in Missouri, Tennessee, and Oklahoma have also passed such legislation, and Arizona's measure will be put before voters in 2010.
"House Bill 391aa, 'The Idaho Health Freedom Act,' is not saying no to health care reform. In fact, it's the first step in saying yes to real health care reform in Idaho and providing Idahoans with what they want," said Idaho State Representative Jim Clark, the bill's sponsor.
This bill and other state legislative initiatives are based on ALEC's model Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act. The Idaho legislation would shield the state from a federal requirement to purchase health insurance under fine or penalty.
"This bill sends a message that the State of Idaho will not be steamrolled by Washington politicians bent on taking away our health care freedoms," said Idaho Representative Raul Labrador, a co-sponsor of the legislation. "If Congress passes a mandatory health care reform bill, the freedom act authorizes the State of Idaho to hire an attorney whose sole purpose will be to mount a legal challenge against federal interference with our medical decisions," added Labrador.
Idaho Representative Lynn M. Luker, also a co-sponsor, said: "The state of Idaho joins with other citizens of our great nation to say 'enough,' and has backed its position with a firm policy and commitment to stand up for the liberty of its citizens by passage of the Idaho Health Freedom Act."
The Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act has already been passed, filed or prefiled in 33 states -- Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Lawmakers in an additional four states -- Montana, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Utah -- have publicly announced their intentions to file the legislation. A citizen-led initiative has also been announced in Colorado.
A complete map with links to the legislation in each state is available online at www.alec.org.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation's largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators.
SOURCE American Legislative Exchange Council