Health Care Reform in Boise and New Super 

Plus, Otter innovation forum at Boise State

City takes health-care stance

The Boise City Council--with a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Dave Bieter--passed a resolution on Sept. 15 calling for health care reform.

Council members 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 continue to rise.

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

Park said that health-care expenses for city workers will reach $13.9 million this year and are estimated to cost $16.8 million by 2012. City health coverage costs have risen as much as 15 percent a year recently, robbing cash from other city functions, he said.

Many of the candidates for the City Council election in November spoke against the resolution.

Candidate Dan Dunham, who is running in a three-way race against council member Bisterfeldt and David Honey, sent this quote to the Guardian blog:

"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."

And according to the White House, the number of uninsured people in Idaho increased from 204,000 in 2001 to 236,000 in 2008. The percent of non-elderly adults without insurance increased from 20.3 percent to 21.9 percent. The percentage of people with employer-based coverage decreased from 71.3 percent of the population in 2001 to 71.1 percent in 2008. More than one in five workers in Idaho lack insurance.

The mayor's resolution calls for insurance market reforms to help keep costs down, specifically for public employers like the city. But it also calls for expansion of public-sector health-care programs and a new public health plan option.

Boise School Board Selects New Super

The Boise School Board has named longtime district administrator Don Coberly as the new superintendent. Coberly takes over at the end of this school year, when current Super Stan Olson retires.

Coberly is now executive director of curriculum and instruction for the district. A Borah grad himself, he has worked at the district since 1985.

"I am extremely pleased with the selection of Dr. Don Coberly to succeed me as Superintendent of the Boise School District," Olson said in a district press release. "He has a true love for our school system and community along with having the technical, conceptual and human skills necessary to continue the quality work needed to keep our students and school district moving forward."

Otter rolls out innovation forum

Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter is hosting a full-day innovation forum at Boise State on Thursday, Sept. 24, pushing research in technology, agriculture, small business and at the state's universities and colleges.

The event is free and open to the public. It starts at 7:30 a.m. in the airy Stueckle Sky Center at Boise State.

In February, Otter named a state innovation panel that includes Jefferson Jewell, managing director of Blackfin Technologies; Robin Woods, president of Alturas Analytics; Douglas Sayer, founder of Premier Technology; Steve Hodges, president of M2M Communications; Jason Stolworthy, commercialization manager for Battelle Energy Alliance; Mark Warbis, Otter's director of communications; Donald A. Dietrich, commerce director; and Milford Terrell, a member of the State Board of Education.

Because of early deadlines this week, Iraq casualty reports are not in this edition. They will return Oct. 7.

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