Health and Welfare Committee, Idaho House of Representatives

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The Health and Welfare Committee is a standing committee of the Idaho House of Representatives.

Per the House Rules, committees of the Idaho House of Representatives are assigned by the Speaker of the House and then approved by a majority vote of the chamber.[1] Committees are assigned at the start of each term.[2] Quorum is not defined in the rules. The President is not recognized as an "ex officio" member of any committee.

DocumentIcon.jpg See rules: House Rules


2015 legislative session

The following table describes committee membership at the beginning of the 2015 legislative session.

Health and Welfare Members, 2015
Democratic members (2)Republican members (9)
John RuscheFred Wood, Chair
Sue ChewKelley Packer, Vice chair
Brandon Hixon
Christy Perry
Paul Romrell
John Vander Woude
Merrill Beyeler
Eric Redman
Caroline Nilsson Troy


The following table describes committee membership at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session.


The following table describes committee membership for the 2011 legislative session.


The following table describes committee membership for the 2009 legislative session.



Asset Test

In 2008, Idaho Gov.Butch Otter suspended the asset test, an examination of the hard assets owned by a person who applies for federal food stamps. Prior to the suspension, those people who owned more than $2,000 worth of travel trailers, ATVs, boats, among other things, were deemed ineligible to received federal food stamps. The suspension was confirmed by the House Health and Welfare Committee in 2010. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare suspended the test for an additional year after Otter's original suspension ended in May of 2010. Some Republican lawmakers wanted to adjust the asset test for inflation, rather than removing it altogether, which was desired by the Idaho Community Action Network. Department officials said that the asset test hadn't been adjusted in at least 24 years.Idaho Reporter, "GOP lawmakers willing to examine adjusting asset test for food stamps," June 25, 2010</ref>

Katie Beckett Program

In 2008, the House Health and Welfare Committee ordered the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to search for ways in which the department could save money in the state's Medicaid program. In 2010, the department proposed imposing a voluntary cost-sharing agreement on parents of children who receive Medicaid services through the Katie Beckett program, a move given the OK by the House Health and Welfare Committee. At the time, the state had 2,150 children on the program, which accounted for more than $37 million of the Idaho's Medicaid budget. In the first month of billing, Idaho took in $13,454.[3]

Adoption Ordering

Rep. Sharon Block (R) of Twin Falls successfully pitched a bill to the House Health and Welfare Committee which set the order in which kids in state custody are placed in foster care. The plan, signed into law by Gov. Butch Otter, said that close family members of children needing foster care are first on the list for placement consideration, followed by more-distant relatives and then ordinary foster care parents with no prior connection to the child. The plan also allowed the department to waive licensing requirements for qualified relatives, if department officials were deemed safe through background checks. If the waiver is applied, relatives would be allowed to take custody of the children while going through the licensing process.[4]

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