Idaho representative speaks out against national health care bill

Posted at 5:28 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 19:28:32-04

Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, says a health care plan passed by the U.S. House of Representatives puts hundreds of thousands of Idahoans at risk to lose health care coverage. 

Rubel was helping her daughter with a school project when a pot of oil caught flame in her kitchen.

"It just exploded to a flame that was probably three feet high," Rubel said. "I caught fire. My shirt caught fire. It just started pouring burning oil all over me."

Rubel suffered burns on about 12 percent of her body. Skin grafts and a stay in the hospital racked up the medical bills.

"I haven't gotten the final bills yet, but I would be shocked if I haven't already hit a million dollars," she said. 

Rubel says the recent health care bill is concerning to her for multiple reasons. 

"The bill they just passed will effectively strip away coverage for any preexisting conditions... and I think 660,000 Idahoans would be hit by this," Rubel said.

Rubel also says the bill allows insurance companies to create coverage limits.

"If something goes wrong, you hit those coverage limits in no time," she said.

Idaho's politicians don't all agree with Rubel. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, voted in favor of the bill and defended the legislation at a town hall last week. 

"Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care," Labrador said.

Labrador has since defended that comment. He said his answer wasn't very elegant, but criticized the media for not focusing on his entire response to the question. He added that hospitals are still required to treat people in need of emergency care, regardless if they can pay. 

Rubel says she's critical of Idaho's congressional delegation for voting in favor of the bill. 

"They exempted themselves," she said. "That should tell us something right there. Congress exempted themselves from this bill. They sure don't want to live under the effects of what they're inflicting on the rest of us."State representative speaks out against national health care bill