BOISE -- Hours after President Barack Obama renewed his call for Congress to overhaul health care in his State of the Union speech, a state House committee passed a bill meant to scuttle that effort in Idaho if it requires residents buy health insurance.
Rep. Jim Clark, a Hayden Lake Republican, said Thursday his "Health Freedom Act" would give Idaho a solid foundation to sue the federal government over any health insurance mandates he says would be unconstitutional.
The GOP-dominated House State Affairs Committee voted 13-5 for the bill, which is similar to measures being considered in other states. It now goes to the full House.
The issue has divided Democrats and Republicans across the nation, and Idaho is no different.
Jonathan Parker, the state Republican Party director, told the House panel his central committee voted unanimously to back such a measure.
Rep. Anne Pasley-Stuart, a Boise Democrat, complained Parker's presence turned the hearing into a partisan battle that she resented.