Idaho Patient Act goes to House floor after emotionally charged testimony from both sides

EAST IDAHO NEWS — After hearing passionate and sometimes heated testimony, the House Business & Consumer Committee advanced the Idaho Patient Act to the House floor.

All but two legislators of the 18-person committee gave the Idaho Patient Act a “do pass” Wednesday. The recommendation came after individuals for and against the bill testified for five hours.

“We don’t have a free market in health care,” Rep. Jason Monks, R-Nampa, said during Wednesday’s hearing. “We don’t always get to pick our contractor.”

Monks is the sponsor of the Idaho Patient Act. He said he chose to sponsor the bill because he feels it is something the Legislature needs to pass.

His sentiments were echoed in Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt’s, R-Eagle, tearful urgings to her fellow committee members to pass the bill.

“If you’ve grown up in a home without insurance, if you’ve raised a family at any point without insurance, if you’ve ever had medical bills or medical debt, if you’ve ever had to testify in front of a judge regarding medical debt, then you will know how much this needs to be done,” DeMordaunt said.

The Idaho Patient Act, HB 515, would institute new timelines for billing, require transparency regarding the services being billed to patients, implement deadlines for when providers can send a bill to collections and caps the amount attorneys can receive in supplemental attorney’s fees in medical debt-collection lawsuits.

“This is a collections bill … it’s all about the collections side,” Monks said. “We’re seeking to close some of those unintended consequences in our current law that allows collection agencies to sometimes recover 10 times what the original bill was.”

Read the full story on East Idaho News.