Democratic candidate for governor Keith Allred says Idaho can decide its own fate on health care and shouldn’t waste money suing the federal government.
During a press conference at the Idaho State Capitol on April 7, Allred slammed his likely opponent in the November election, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, for signing a bill that required the state attorney general to sue the federal government to challenge the recently approved health care reform legislation. Idaho signed on to a lawsuit with 12 other states challenging the new law.
Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in court, Allred said the state has the option to craft its own plan and avoid federal requirements like the mandate that requires people to buy insurance or pay a small penalty.
Allred said Idaho needs to do something proactive to address rising costs and shrinking access to insurance, with only 56 percent of employers offering coverage to full-time employees in 2009.
He said one of the more promising ideas would be to create a statewide insurance exchange and a voucher system that would allow people to shop for the best insurance plan. He pointed to a system in Utah that is showing some signs of initial success.
Allred is expected to face Otter, who was slated to kick off his campaign April 7. Both must win their parties’ nominations in the May 25 primary.