Boise Passes Health Care Resolution

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Last night, the Boise City Council—with a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Dave Bieter—passed a resolution calling for health care reform.

Television covered it, but print, apparently did not. Sorry.

According to KBCI-2, Maryanne Jordan, David Eberle and Elaine Clegg supported the measure and Jim Tibbs, Alan Shealy and Vern Bisterfeldt voted against it. Bieter broke the tie saying that health insurance costs for city workers continues to rise almost 15 percent a year, robbing cash from other city functions.

Thirty-four people testified on the resolution, mostly against, according to city spokesman Adam Park. Each was given two minutes to state their piece.

KTVB-7 reports that:

This year, healthcare expenses for city workers will reach $13.9 million.
By 2012, it's estimated it'll cost $16.8 million - a cost that be passed on to taxpayers.
“That money comes out of funds for the parks, funds for police, funds for fire, funds for our library system,” Bieter said. “There's a limited amount of money and that detracts from all the services we offer. So it really is an issue that affects us directly.”

Many of the candidates for the City Council election in November spoke against the resolution. A Tea Party Boise co-founder was also in attendence, according to KIVI-6: "This is meant to show Washington where Boise stands where Idaho stands and this is not the way we feel at all," Tea Party Boise co-founder Brendon Smythe said. (We especially like the comment posted by "Gene Fadness" (is it THE Gene Fadness, or a wannabe) on KIVI's story: "Basic to any story — WHO VOTED FOR AND WHO VOTED AGAINST????")

Channel 2 is the only station that named names, by the way.

Candidate Dan Dunham sent this quote to the Guardian:

“As a city council candidate, I want to remind Mr. Mayor that your job deals with our city. You should be concerned with the local economy, local housing issues, the city budget, and ways that you can actually affect the quality of life for city residents.

When I am elected to the city council, I will not support this kind of “NOT IN MY JOB DISCRIPTION” waste of city resources. My only hope is that the national attention you seek will be as good as the attention you gave to public testimony tonight.”

UPDATE:

The White House just sent out updated health care stats for Idaho:

The status quo is not an option. The number of uninsured in Idaho has increased from 204,000 in 2001 to 236,000 in 2008. The percent of non-elderly adults without insurance increased from 20.3 % to 21.9 %. And this number only considers people who are uninsured for an entire year — it does not include people in Idaho who have more recently lost coverage through the recession, or who had shorter gaps in their coverage.

Private coverage is eroding under the status quo. The percentage of people with employer-based coverage decreased from 71.3% of the population in 2001 to 71.1% in 2008.

More workers are being left without protection from health care costs. Too many workers in Idaho do not have health coverage, at 151,000 in 2008. More than one in five workers in Idaho lack insurance.

The problem of the uninsured is a problem that crosses income brackets. The new Census numbers also drive home the fact that everyone in Idaho is vulnerable to losing health insurance. An additional 17,500 people from high-income households are now uninsured.

UPDATE II
Statesman covered the meeting too, just couldn't find the link this morning.