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House passes governor’s insurance exchange bill

House passes governor’s insurance exchange bill

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
March 14, 2013

The Idaho House on a 41-29 vote Wednesday approved Gov. Butch Otter’s health insurance exchange legislation following an eight-hour and at times cantankerous debate.

“Some of us think that because we put the word ‘state’ in front of the word ‘exchange’ that somehow we are magically being empowered to do something for ourselves,” Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, said, in arguing against House Bill 248. “Folks, there is no magic here. We are not being empowered. With this bill we will do what the federal government tells us to do.”

At the start of the session, Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, presented the bill, noting to his fellow House members that “with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Idaho has a simple choice to make. That is, which kind of insurance exchange will we have, either a federal or a state exchange. We don’t have a choice to not have an insurance exchange.”

At one point in the debate, Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, motioned that the bill be sent for amending. Noting that the insurance exchange legislation would not prohibit the distribution of abortifacient drugs, he stated that “many of us had the opportunity to participate in the content of this bill. I was not one of them. I think it is incumbent on us to make sure that there are adequate protections for the protection of life, protection of women, and the protection of religious freedom and freedom of conscience.”

“I am a pro-life Republican, and I am offended by the motion,” responded Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa.

“We have spent two years working on this,” said House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, about the motion to amend. “This bill is the culmination of these two years, and I think it would be highly inappropriate to move backwards at this point.”

The Barbieri motion failed on a 38-32 vote.

“This is not a state exchange,” said House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star. “If it were, we’d have state workers running it. It is a corporate body politic, consisting of unelected folks who will tax us and make our decisions. Have you really read this bill? If you want a state exchange, then have the state involved in running it for cryin’ out loud. If we wait a year, maybe we’ll know more about what the rules from Washington will be, maybe the Kool-Aid will be better then.This bill will create a ‘God Squad’ of people who can tax us, and control our health care and they will be unelected and unaccountable.”

“I’ve never done anything like create an insurance exchange before,” noted Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls. “But as a former mayor of a city, I’ve worked with the feds on a lot of projects like building water treatment plants, jails and so forth. I’m looking forward to voting in favor of this bill, and keeping control of our insurance needs.”

“People in my district are afraid,” Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree, said. “They are afraid, and they are worried about jobs. They are afraid of Obamacare, too, but I told them that is a congressional decision. They are encouraged about the jobs that a state exchange will create.”

The vote tally on HB 248 included 28 Republicans and 13 Democrats voting in favor, 29 Republicans against.

Yes: Eric Anderson, Neil Anderson, Robert Anderst, Scott Bedke, Maxine Bell, Darrell Bolz, Grant Burgoyne, Sue Chew, Lance Clow, Gary Collins, Matt Erpelding, George Eskridge, John Gannon, Marc Gibbs, Doug Hancey, Stephen Hartgen, Frank Henderson, Brandon Hixon, Wendy Horman, Clark Kauffman, Phyllis King, Hy Kloc, Luke Malek, Carolyn Meline, Steve Miller, Ed Morse, Kelley Packer, Donna Pence, Christy Perry, Dell Raybould, Shirley Ringo, Paul Romrell, John Rusche, Elaine Smith, Jeff Thompson, Julie VanOrden, Janie Ward-Engelking, Richard Wills, Fred Wood, Holli Woodings, Rick Youngblood

No: Lucinda Agidius, Ken Andrus, Vito Barbieri, Lenore Hardy-Barrett, Linden Bateman, Gayle Batt, Judy Boyle, Brent Crane, Thomas Dayley, Reed DeMordaunt, Lawerence Denney, Terry Gestrin, Steven Harris, James Holtzclaw, Thomas Loertscher, Lynn Luker, Shannon McMillan, Ron Mendive, Jason Monks, Mike Moyle, Pete Nielsen, Joe Palmer, Mark Patterson, Paul Shepherd, Kathleen Sims, Thyra Stevenson, Janet Trujillo, John Vander Woude, JoAn Wood

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