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Eye On Boise

Thu., Feb. 7, 2013, 1:28 p.m.

Testimony: ‘Mr. Otter now owns Obamacare,’ ‘Keep millions in Idaho,’ ‘Liberty in jeopardy,’ ‘Law of the land’

Insurance agent Tom Shores testifies to the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday (Betsy Russell)
Insurance agent Tom Shores testifies to the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday (Betsy Russell)

Among those testifying this afternoon on SB 1042, the governor’s state insurance exchange bill:

Joe Rohner said, “I am a free-market capitalist in every sense of the term. … From this day forth, Mr. Otter owns Obamacare, which shall now be known statewide as Ottercare.” He said the national health care reform law “is in fact a massive transfer of wealth to the insurance companies.”

Steve Thomas of the Idaho Association of Health Plans told the senators, “Let’s keep it simple. 1042 isn’t that hard. Idaho can do this more efficiently and less expensively than the federal government, even Mr. Hoffman conceded that in his testimony Tuesday. Meanwhile, 1042 keeps millions of dollars in Idaho and in our citizens’ pockets, while also maximizing local control.”

Tony Snesko of Boise, a former aide to Congressman Duncan Hunter in Washington, D.C., said, “I believe I speak for most of my fellow veterans who have fought, and many died, for our freedoms. One of our freedoms that we fought for, one of our many rights, is in jeopardy today – liberty, liberty. We firmly believe that Obamacare and Gov. Otter-care would go bankrupt if they didn’t have the power to increasingly raise fees and tax Idaho citizens to … keep it afloat.” Snesko said Idahoans will become “indentured servants to either the state exchange or the federal health care systems.” He said, “Think about the people that died for this country, for their freedom.”

Tom Shores said, “I represent first myself as a citizen of Idaho, a father and a grandfather. … Sometimes the loudest opinion that’s being expressed is not necessarily the best one. I’m also an insurance agent.” He also heads an organization of health insurance agents and served on the governor’s exchange task force. “This is the law of the land,” Shores said. “It’s something we will need to work with.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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