It appears Reps. Vito Barbieri, R-Hayden Lake, and Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, are pretty determined in their opposition to federal health care reforms.

Despite an opinion from the state attorney general’s office declaring the concept unconstitutional, the two lawmakers successfully introduced legislation centered on the idea of nullification of reforms.  Barbieri and Boyle brought the bill before the House State Affairs Committee in the Capitol Wednesday.

The measure passed on a 15-4 party-line vote, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposing.

The bill, in a nutshell, would make the federal health care reforms passed in March of 2010 essentially “null and void” within the boundaries of Idaho.  Additionally, the act would prohibit state workers from collaborating with the feds on any measures related to reforms and would also prevent Idaho from entering into any agreements having to do with reforms.

Anyone found in violation of the nullification act could face up to six months in jail or a fine of $1,000.

Barbieri, in his address to the panel members, said that even if the bill does not pass, he wants to “open the discussion” about the Idaho Legislature becoming a “rubber stamp” for all federal policies and programs.  He described the health reforms as “wildly unpopular” in Idaho, and said that the federal law oversteps the bounds of the commerce and general welfare clauses in the U.S. Constitution.

The act also calls into question the power of federal courts to rule on the case because of a potential conflict of interest.  Barbieri said that because the federal government would be a party versus the state if the matter ended up in federal court, the outcome could be suspect.  “It would be hard to imagine an arm of the federal government ruling against itself,” he said.

Opposition came from Democrats, but a few Republicans seemed to have reservations about the act.  Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, voted in favor of the legislation, but asked the sponsors to provide a copy of the attorney general’s opinion of nullification in the next hearing.

Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, also questioned the legitimacy of the bill because of the lack of recognition of the judicial process.  Luker, a sponsor of a 2010 bill that challenged a part of the health reforms in court, said that the nullification bill is “significantly different” than the anti-health reform he sponsored.  Luker voted for the bill, but said he is “troubled about the concept of nullification.”

There were others who supported the measure as a way to push back against the federal government and excessive regulation.  Rep. Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls, who also heads the House Health and Welfare Committee, said that the federal reforms put a heavy burden on Idaho’s Medicaid system.  “The federal health law is a huge expansion of Medicaid,” said McGeachin adding that states are “choking from federal mandates and regulations.”

The bill with receive further hearings in upcoming weeks.  The measure has 16 sponsors in the House and five in the Idaho Senate.

Note: Idaho Freedom Foundation director Wayne Hoffman has been actively involved in creating the nullification legislation.  Hoffman and the foundation also provided books about nullification to each lawmaker on the panel prior to the hearing. is published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, though Hoffman does not direct content of the news site.

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About The Author

Dustin Hurst serves as the Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He graduated from Boise State in 2009. His work has been featured by Fox News, Townhall, Public Sector Inc., the Daily Caller, Reason, Human Events, the Spokesman Review and more. He and his wonderful wife Julia have two cute kids. The family resides in Middleton.


  1. The Idaho Freedom Foundation is a Godsend

  2. How about looking into affordable insurance for us who have had cancer and can ONLY get high deductible 3000-5000 dollar policies, while most politicians get fantastic insurance benefits. It would also be nice to have more choices than Regence Blue Cross/Shield, what a monopoly by the insurance company. What a ripoff to pay $532 each month for no coverage plus all the high priced doctor or dentist visits.
    At least with Obamacare those of us with existing conditions could get coverage. If you have nothing we the people pay for those uninsured to get treatments or they get cheap clinics to go to. I am tired of paying more for insurance, taxes,food, etc. and the less fortunate benefit. Time to do things for us, the so called middle class.

  3. Gee, why I not surprised to hear that legislators from a state with some of the worst social services in the nation are against anything that might mean the poor working people in this state, who are mostly uninsured and under-insured, might actually be able to hope to go to a doctor when they are ill? The Idaho legislature is, by and large, a disgrace to the human race.

  4. Seem to me that the Mental Health and the dieable who being hit the most have Medcied to live and also to take care of their needs! Mental Health services to helpe them live! I sitting here in my wheelchri wouldering why didn’t the Gov. and the legistures say we will take a cut too and a cross the broad! And have you never been disable? I’m!!

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tea Party Boise, Inc, said: It’s on: Reps. Barbieri and Boyle introduce health care nullification bill […]

  6. I’m conservative and despise Obamacare.

    But, I’m horrified by this bill.

    It is utterly and completely unconstitutional. Aren’t we conservatives supposed to support the Constitution?

    Worse, the last round of nullification was in the lead-up to the Civil War. It was used to support slavery. Thus, this doctrine has a racist past.

    I hope our Idaho legislators realize how foolish this is.

    Resisting Obamacare is legit. But, the way to do so is by electing a new president next year, legislative action and through the courts. Those are the constitutional remedies.

  7. […] lawmakers are also working on a plan to nullify the PPACA in Idaho, which would prevent state or federal agencies from spending money to implement the plan. Some of […]

  8. […] are scheduled to introduce the legislation on Feb. 7 in the House State Affairs Committee, which agreed to print similar legislation on earlier in the session. It takes aim at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), approved by Congress last […]

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