The House State Affairs Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to delay for one week consideration of a bill seeking to repeal the state’s insurance exchange.
In presenting the proposed legislation, Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, implored her colleagues “to listen to the people of this state.” She requested the committee approve printing her bill to allow further analysis of its merits. “What you need to really listen to are not the lobbyists, not the people who think they’re going to get something for free from the federal government, but the people of this state,” she said.
Saying that 37 states chose to not create their own insurance exchanges in compliance with the federal Obamacare law, Barrett said “these states are leaving it to the feds to create the exchanges, which means the whole Obamacare thing will implode sooner rather than later.”
During questioning, Rep. Kelley Packer, R-McCammon, asked: “I have a question on the co-sponsor list. I was confused to see Rep. Fred Wood’s name on the list. Has he been asked about this?”
“Thank you for bringing this to my attention,” Barrett responded. “That is a mistake, and no he is not a co-sponsor. Dr. Wood would not approve of this.” Both Packer and Wood, R-Burley, last year voted in favor of creating the insurance exchange.
Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, then motioned that the committee send the bill for printing.
However, Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, said he had more questions, and asked Barrett if the legislative proposal she was presenting before the committee was similar to a different piece of legislation, House Bill 418.
Barrett replied that she was presenting a new bill, because House Bill 418 appeared to be “going down the toilet.”
“That toilet is my committee,” Anderson replied. “House Bill 418 was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee and absolutely nobody has approached me about a hearing on it. I think this bill needs to be sent back to the sponsor and there needs to be some more discussion about House Bill 418.” Anderson is the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Shortly thereafter, Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, requested that the committee be put “at ease.” Later, he motioned that the bill not be considered for a week, which was approved by the committee.
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